After weeks of being held in Iran some of the crew of the seized Portuguese container ship MSC Aries that has been seized by the Iranian authorities on April 13 in the Strait of Hormuz, would be released as the governments of Portugal, India, Philippines and Estonia confirmed last week.

Portugal as the flag state of the containership confirmed that seven members of the ship detained by Iran crew, have been released on May 9.

The Portuguese government timely notified the countries of nationality of these seven crew members, specifically: five Indian citizens, one Filipino, and one Estonian, who was the sole European Union citizen on board.

Currently, the crew on board consists of 17 members (one Indian citizen had left the ship beforehand), as the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said last week.

“The Portuguese government welcomes this development, for which it had strongly advocated for. Nonetheless, it reiterates to the Iranian Government that international law requires the immediate release of the remaining crew members and of the ship MSC Aries. Portugal will continue to make every effort to ensure that these international obligations are fully met,” the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

India’s embassy in Iran posted a message on X (Twitter) confirming that five of the Indian sailors on MSC Aries have been released and departed from Iran on May 9 in the evening.

The embassy, while sharing the details of their release, thanked the Iranian authorities for their close coordination with “the Embassy and Indian Consulate in Bandar Abbas.”

In its official twitter account on Friday May 10 the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines reported that “the Philippines welcomes the good news that one of the four Filipino seamen at the MSC Aries has been released and is arriving home later today.”

“We appreciate Iran’s gesture and the intercession of India in this matter. The DFA is working with the DMW for the release and repatriation of the 3 other Filipino seafarers on the ship, and we hope for their eventual speedy return to their homes and families,” the Department of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Philippines added.

Margus Tsahkna, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia, also confirmed on May 9 that the Estonian resident who was on board the MSC Aries was released. “He is on his way to Estonia and his family has been told the good news,” Foreign Affairs Ministry reported.

Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna said efforts to secure the resident’s release lasted nearly four weeks. “I would like to thank all Estonian diplomats and our partners who did not keep track of their hours while working to secure the release of the Estonian resident these past weeks,” the minister said.

The foreign minister added that Estonia was concerned for the remaining crew members and called on Iran to immediately release both the ship and its remaining crew.

The release of the Estonian resident was achieved thanks to close cooperation with partners and direct communication with the authorities of Iran and the shipping company.

Foreign Minister Margus Tsahkna recently spoke on the phone to both Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and President of the MSC Group Diego Aponte.

“Estonia’s honorary consul in Tehran met with the Estonian resident on board the ship, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was in close communication with the Iranian embassy in Helsinki and Iran’s chargé d’affaires was summoned in connection with the seizure of the ship. Portugal also greatly contributed to the release of crew members of the Portugal-flagged ship, which is why the Estonian embassy in Lisbon communicated closely with the Foreign Ministry of Portugal,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia added in its release.