Nicosia-Iran talk for release of seized Cypriot captain

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Cyprus authorities are in close contact with Iran to secure a successful outcome to the seizure of the Greek-flagged tanker Prudent Warrior with 23 people aboard, including a Cypriot captain.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard seized the ship with Delta Poseidon in the Persian Gulf on 27 May in retaliation for Greece “stealing” Iranian oil.

Since then, Prudent Warrior has been moved to the port of Bandar Abbas.

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides has spoken with the captain’s wife and informed her that Cyprus Ambassador in Iran visited the ship on Tuesday and met with the Cypriot citizen.

“The Minister wanted to convey his sympathy and support and to brief her on all our actions aiming for the incident to have a successful ending,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Demetris Demetriou told the Cyprus News Agency.

He said the Cypriot captain was in good health, as was everybody else on the vessel, and the Ambassador informed him of actions taken to offer consular assistance.

Demetriou said contact with the Iranian authorities is continuous, and Cyprus is trying to handle the matter to achieve the desired outcome.

A court in Greece has overturned a ruling that authorised the confiscation of crude oil from an Iranian-flagged tanker that sparked the seizure of two Greek-flagged tankers in the Gulf.

On Thursday, an appeals court in the port city of Halkida reversed a lower court’s decision to allow the removal of the Lana’s cargo.

Greek authorities temporarily seized the tanker in mid-April.

Iran fiercely protested the action and ordered the armed takeover of two Greek-flagged tankers in the Persian Gulf last month.

The Greek Foreign Ministry branded the action as “tantamount to piracy.”

“The action taken (against the Greek tankers) was completely unjustified and unprovoked”.

A Greek official said last month that the Iranian tanker’s cargo was being transferred to another vessel following a request from the United States.

Greek media reported the Lana was believed to be carrying more than 100,000 tonnes of Iranian crude in breach of US and European Union sanctions on Iran.

Greek authorities seized the Lana when it anchored off Karystos on 15 April.

At the time, it was flying a Russian flag, had recently changed its name from Pegas to Lana, and was carrying a crew of 19 Russians.

Greece’s coast guard said the tanker was seized due to suspicions it had breached EU sanctions imposed against Russia over the war in Ukraine.