'We're safe'! Family of Malayali onboard cargo ship seized by Iran gets reassuring phone call

Ann Tessa Joseph. Photo: Manorama Online

The family of Ann Tessa Joseph, one of the 17 Indians onboard the MSC Aries cargo ship seized by Iran's Revolutionary Guard, were relieved to hear from her on Monday.

Ann told her family that everyone onboard the ship was safe and that they were properly fed. She was able to contact her family in Thrissur only after the Guard permitted them to use their mobile phones for an hour.

Ann's family had been waiting impatiently for her call ever since officials from the shipping company told them that the army had agreed to let the crew use their phones. "We have no problem from the army onboard. The crew can work now," Ann told her family. The civilian cargo ship was seized in the Strait of Hormuz on April 13.

Earlier in the day, Ann's father Biju Abraham had expressed disappointment over the Chief Minister's letter to the Centre that was devoid of her name.

He said there's been no information about Ann since Friday. The Chief Minister's Office later contacted Biju and asked for details regarding Ann to forward to the Centre.

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Ann Tessa speaks to her family via a video call on Monday.

Earlier, Biju had said it was a relief that Iran had allowed Indian authorities to meet the ships's crew. "She calls at times. The other day, she hung up saying she would call us tomorrow. But there was no call and we could not get through when we tried contacting her. Officials with the shipping company informed us that the incident happened when the vessel was on its way to Mumbai from Abu Dhabi. Our latest information on Ann is that her details have been shared with the Centre and that she has been eating food," said Biju.

A native of Thrissur's Veluthur, Ann is the fourth Malayali onboard the ship. She has been working on the ship for the past nine months as part of training. She last spoke to her family on Friday. While company officials assured Biju that Ann is safe, central intelligence sources are in touch with the family.

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