'I am safe'; parents of Wayanad youth in Iranian-seized ship relieved after son's call

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Wayanad: Parents of Dhanesh PV, one of the four Malayalis stranded in the Iranian-seized ship, heaved a sigh of relief when they received a brief phone call from their son on Sunday afternoon.

“The call was brief, and he simply said, ‘I am safe,'” recounted Viswanathan, Dhanesh’s father. Dhanesh had been working with MSC Aries, for almost three years and was scheduled to return home for vacation when the incident occurred, Viswanathan told Onmanorama

“The call came from a different number, possibly an official from the ship,” Viswanathan speculated. Dhanesh had last visited his home in Palvelicham near Kuruva Islands, Mananthavadi, in August last year.

Viswanathan and his wife, Shailaja, were at their daughter Dhanya’s home in Balussery celebrating Vishu when news of the ship’s seizure broke through news networks. “We have already sought Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s assistance, with the help of Mananthavady MLA O R Kelu, to secure the immediate release of our son,” Viswanathan added.

Among the crew held by Iran are four Malayalis: Ann Tessa Joseph from Thrissur, Shyamnath from Ramanattukara in Kozhikode, Sumesh from Palakkad, and PV Dhanesh from Wayanad. 17 out of the 25 crew members on board are Indian nationals.

The family of another crew member, Shyamnath, also received distressing news about their son just as they anticipated his return after the Vishu holidays.

“He called them on Saturday morning and assured them he would be home within 2 days,” said Biju Sivadas, a member of the 19th ward of Peruvayal Grama Panchayat, to Onmanorama. “We hope the crew, including Shyamnath, will be released within 2 days,” Sivadas added.

“We are going through tough times…we have great concerns about the safety of our son. The company authorities said they could not contact the ship crew after the seizure,” Shyamnath’s father Vishwanathan told media.

Hailing from Velliparamba in this northern district, Shyamnath has been working as a second engineer in ‘MSC Aries’ for the last 10 years. He last visited the hometown in September last year. Shyamnath’s father, Viswanathan Menon, is a retired official from the Navy.

The shipping company also informed Thrissur native Ann Tessa Joseph’s family that all individuals on board were safe.

Kerala CM seeks Centre’s intervention
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday sought the intervention of the external affairs ministry seeking the safe return of Indian nationals including those from the state who are onboard a seized Israel-linked cargo ship in the gulf region. Vijayan wrote a letter to Union External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar today sharing the concerns of the Kerala government over the welfare and safety of the crew members of the ship MSC Aries, which was seized by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards near the Strait of Hormuz.

“As you are aware, the ship’s seizure has caused great concern, especially for the families and loved ones of the crew members. Our collective objective at this point of time is the safe repatriation of all our nationals including those from Kerala, back to India without any delay. “Given the geopolitical situation surrounding this incident, I urge immediate intervention and decisive action through diplomatic channels,” Vijayan said in the letter.

Official sources on Friday said India has called on Iranian authorities through diplomatic channels, both in Tehran and Delhi, to ensure the welfare and early release of the 17 Indian crew members of the cargo ship ‘MSC Aries’. The MSC (Mediterranean Shipping Company) said it is working closely with relevant authorities for the well-being of 25 crew members and the return of the vessel.

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