Two Greek-owned tankers were captured by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps yesterday following Greece's capture, on US orders, of an Iranian tanker transporting Russian energy.
The two ships, the Delta Poseidon and the Prudent Warrior, were in the Persian Gulf when the Revolutionary Guards launched an operation to seize them.
There were 25 crewmembers on the Delta Poseidon, of which two were Greeks, while in the Prudent Warrior there are 23 crewmembers, eight of whom are Greeks and one Cypriot.
The anxiety of the relatives and friends of the Greek sailors is further intensified by the fact that the landing on the ship Delta Poseidon was made by a helicopter, from which seven armed people got off, while the landing with seven armed men on the ship Prudent Warrior was similar.
Meanwhile, the news went around the world, with the world's largest news networks pointing out that the seizure occurred as the ship was sailing in international waters.
As for the fate of the crews, the only information that has become known after the first moments of "piracy" is the fact that the IRGC have gathered the entire crew of Delta Poseidon on the deck of the ship. As for the condition of the Prudent Warrior crew, there has been no new information so far.
Despite the efforts of both the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Shipping, however, for the time being no communication was possible with the two ships, with the Greek authorities remaining on alert in order to coordinate their actions.
Alarmingly, there are 17 Greek-flagged tankers in the Persian Gulf and are now on increased alert.
In terms of ownership, Delta Poseidon belongs to the fleet of Diamantis Diamantidis's Delta Tankers and Prudent Warrior to Polembros Shipping Limited.
Guess for revenge
In the diplomatic thriller that has been unfolding since yesterday, the first interpretations are given, linking the Revolutionary Guards raid against the two Greek ships in retaliation for the seizure of a Russian ship that was transporting oil from Iran, last April.
Nikos Dendias sees piracy
The reaction from the Greek Foreign Ministry was furious, taking a strong step against the Iranian Ambassador in Athens, even contradictorily talking about the "violent occupation of two Greek-flagged ships in the Gulf", as if the cabinet he belongs to did not, without provocation, seize an Iranian ship.
The Foreign Ministry even went on to warn that the event overshadows the bilateral framework of Greek-Iranian diplomatic relations, but also the EU-Iran relationship, in a period of intense international consultations on Tehran's nuclear program.
The announcement of the Foreign Minister:
"By order of the Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Dendias, the Secretary General of the Ministry Themistoklis Demiris recently held a strong protest action to the Iranian Ambassador in Athens, regarding the violent occupation of two Greek-flagged ships in the Gulf.
"The above acts are essentially equivalent to acts of piracy. The Secretary-General strongly condemned these acts, which are contrary to fundamental rules of international law and international navigation.
"He called for the immediate release of the ships and their crews. He also stressed that these actions will have a particularly negative impact on bilateral relations, as well as on EU-Iran relations.
"Earlier today, a helicopter of the Iranian navy landed on the Greek-flagged ship Delta Poseidon which was sailing in international waters (22 nautical miles off the coast of Iran) in the Gulf. Armed men then captured the ship's crew, including two Greek citizens.
"A similar incident was reported to have occurred on another Greek-flagged ship, aboard seven Greek nationals, off the Iranian coast.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has already informed the European External Action Service, the International Maritime Organization, as well as allies and partners of Greece.
"In light of the above, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises Greek citizens to avoid traveling to Iran.
"Greek-flagged ships are required to follow the instructions of the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy, with which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in close coordination and constant communication."
Homobrontia of reactions
This unexpected development resulted in a strong reaction from the entire political world, as there is nothing new regarding the situation of the Greek sailors, while it is perceived as a rapid deterioration of the diplomatic relations between Greece and Iran.
The announcement of SYRIZA- Progressive Alliance:
"The seizure of the two Greek ships in Iran is an unacceptable action by the local authorities, which in no way can be considered as retaliation for the detention of a Russian ship with Iranian cargo, which took place by the Greek authorities days ago in Karystos," said the head of Shipping and Island Policy of SYRIZA-PS, Nektarios Santorinios.
He adds that "following with concern the development of the incident, we ask the Greek Government:
1. To ensure, as it should, the safety of the Greek sailors on board and the immediate return of the two Greek-flagged ships
2. It must inform the Greek people about the legal framework of the detention of the Russian ship, as well as the claims that have been raised against it. It must also show absolute transparency in informing the public about the operation of transhipping the oil cargo from the specific seized ship."
"Extremely serious event" says PASOK-KINAL
For its part, the Shipping Department of PASOK - Movement for Change points out that "an extremely serious event happened this afternoon, which surpasses all previous ones!
"The armed forces of the IRGC captured two ships of Greek interests, capturing their crews, their cargoes, but also the ships themselves!
"The Hellenic Shipping industry is following the developments with great concern."
He also emphasises that "the Shipping sector of PASOK-Movement for Movement expresses its solidarity with the families of the crews and calls on the Minister of Shipping and Island Policy to take immediate action.
"In a time of global tension, the voice of reason and composure must prevail."
KKE: "Extremely serious and dangerous development"
"The policy of the 'flag bearer' of the American-NATO plans pursued by the Greek government exposes the country and the Greek people to great dangers", the Press Office of the KKE Central Committee emphasises on the occasion of the occupation of two Greek tankers by the Iranian armed forces.
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