Foreign Ministry News

31 Mar 2020

Japanese Destroyer and Chinese Fishing Boat Collide

A Japanese destroyer and a Chinese fishing boat collided in the East China Sea on Monday night and no one was injured, Japan’s defense minister said, but China said a fisherman was hurt and suggested the Japanese vessel was to blame.The collision occurred about 650 km (400 miles) west of the Japanese island of Yakushima, Defence Minister Taro Kono said on Twitter on Tuesday.The crash opened a hole of more than a meter in length above the waterline of the destroyer, the Shimakaze, Kono said.“No personnel were injured and no one from the Chinese fishing boat was missing.

17 Mar 2020

Baltic States Send Ships for Stranded Citizens

(File photo: Tallink)

Estonia and Latvia will send ships to bring back hundreds of their citizens stranded on the border between Germany and Poland, following Warsaw’s decision last week to shut its borders in response to the coronavirus outbreak, officials said.The three Baltic countries - Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia - have criticized Poland for preventing their citizens in transit from returning home.Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki came under fire over the move during a coronavirus videocall of all 27 national EU leaders on Tuesday during which they agreed to seal off Europe’s external borders as par

17 Mar 2020

South Africa Quarantines Two Ships

© SANGRIN / MarineTraffic.com

South Africa is holding the cruise liner MV AIDAmira and a cargo vessel off Cape Town after a crew member on board one of the ships showed signs of the coronavirus, national ports operator Transnet said on Tuesday.On Sunday President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a state of disaster and implemented urgent measures including travel bans to fight the pandemic.As of Tuesday, 85 people in South Africa have tested positive for the coronavirus, up 23 from the previous day and including eight local transmissions, the health ministry said.

25 Feb 2020

80 Filipinos Test Positive for Coronavirus on Diamond Princess

© Daisuke Nimura / MarineTraffic.com

Philippine citizens infected with coronavirus on cruise ship rises to 80, others fly homeThe Philippines said on Tuesday that the number of its citizens who had tested positive for the coronavirus on a cruise ship docked in a Japanese port had risen to 80, as 400 others arrived back home.The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that 80 Filipinos who had been on board the cruise ship Diamond Princess had been admitted to hospitals in Japan after testing positive for the virus.

03 Jan 2020

Search for Missing Bulgarian Sailors Ends

© K. Faasse / MarineTraffic.com

The Norwegian authorities on Thursday suspended wider search and rescue operations for two Bulgarian sailors who officials say fell overboard from a cargo ship in the Norwegian Sea, the Bulgarian foreign ministry said.The two-helicopter rescue operation began around 400 kilometers southwest of the town of Bodo in the early afternoon on Thursday, but activities were severely hampered by bad weather - high winds and eight-meter-high waves, the ministry said."According to the Norwegian Joint Rescue Coordination Center, under the current climatic conditions there is no chance for those who have fa

03 Jan 2020

Indonesia Boosts Patrols After Chinese 'Trespass'

(Photo: Indonesia Directorate General of Sea Transportation)

Indonesia has increased patrols around islands near the disputed South China Sea after a Chinese coast guard vessel "trespassed" into Indonesia's exclusive economic zone, authorities said on Friday.The Chinese vessel entered waters off the coast of the northern Natuna islands in mid-December, leading Indonesian foreign ministry to issue a “strong protest” and summon the Chinese ambassador in Jakarta.Speaking in Beijing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang…

16 Dec 2019

India: 20 Kidnapped from Tanker off West Africa

Image Credit: © MarineTraffic.com

India's foreign ministry said on Monday that 20 of its nationals had been kidnapped from an oil tanker in West African waters."Our Mission in Abuja has taken up the matter with the Nigerian authorities, as also with the authorities of the neighbouring countries," the ministry said in a statement.It said the vessel was the Marshall Islands-flagged DUKE.The ship's operator Union Maritime wrote on its website that the craft was "attacked and boarded" while carrying fuel oil to the Togolese capital Lome from Angola and that the company was working with relevant authorities to resolve the incident.

20 Nov 2019

Houthis Release South Korean, Saudi vessels

Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi movement released three vessels and 16 people it had seized, South Korea's Foreign Ministry and a Houthi military source in Yemen said on Wednesday.The seizure on Sunday was the latest incident at sea around Yemen, where Saudi Arabia is leading a Western-backed coalition of Arab states against the Houthis, who control the capital and most population centres and have been accused of attacking shipping.Of the vessels freed on Tuesday, two were South Korean and one was Saudi Arabia-flagged, the South Korean ministry said in a statement, adding that the families of two South Koreans among the crew had been notified."The three ships were released after the necessary legal measures…

24 Oct 2019

Chinese Ship Exits Vietnam's Waters After Disputed Surveys

Haiyang Dizhi 8 (© smp / MarineTraffic.com)

A Chinese oil survey vessel that has been embroiled in a tense standoff with Vietnamese vessels in the South China Sea left Vietnamese-controlled waters on Thursday after more than three months, marine data showed.The Chinese vessel, the Haiyang Dizhi 8, was speeding away from Vietnam's exclusive economic zone towards China on Thursday under the escort of at least two Chinese ships, according to data from Marine Traffic, a website that tracks vessels.China claims almost all the energy-rich waters of the South China Sea but neighbors Brunei…

26 Sep 2019

Rouhani Expects UK Tanker Held in Iran to be Released

© Hannes van Rijn / MarineTraffic.com

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday he expected the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, seized by Iran in July, to be released after the completion of legal procedures in his country."The tanker is going through the final court proceedings. I predict that it will be released," Rouhani said at a news conference in New York during the United Nations' annual gathering of world leaders.The ship's owner, Stena Bulk of Sweden, said on Wednesday the vessel was still…

23 Sep 2019

Iranian Held by Somali Pirates Since 2015 Ffreed

M Shariff from Iran was released after being held by Somali pirates (Photo: Hostage Support Partnership)

An Iranian sailor held hostage by Somali pirates for more than four years has been released with the help of the United Nations and a humanitarian group, Iran's Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi thanked the Hostage Support Partnership group, U.N. officials in Somalia, and authorities in Somalia's semi-autonomous Puntland and in Ethiopia for their help in winning the release of Mohammad Sharif Panahandeh, the state news agency IRNA said.Three Iranians sailors are still being held…

04 Sep 2019

Iran to Release Seven from Seized British Tanker

file image of seized UK tanker STENA IMPERO (CREDIT: MarineTraffic.com / © Irwin Willemse

Iran will free seven crew members of the detained British-flagged tanker Stena Impero, Iranian state television reported on Wednesday, although the vessel's owner said it had yet to receive any official confirmation of the release date.The Swedish-owned Stena Impero was detained by Iran's Revolutionary Guards on July 19 in the Strait of Hormuz waterway for alleged marine violations, two weeks after Britain detained an Iranian tanker off the territory of Gibraltar. That vessel was released in August.Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi told the TV that the seven…

29 Aug 2019

India's Ports on Alert for 'Underwater' Attacks

Visakhapatnam port is a second largest port by cargo handled in India. (Image Credit: AdobeStock / © SNEHIT)

India's two main ports said on Thursday they had been warned by the coastguard and intelligence officials that Pakistan-trained commandos have entered Indian waters to carry out underwater attacks on port facilities.The Mundra Port, run by Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd, and the state-owned Kandla Port had asked their employees and ship operators to be vigilant, port officials and the ports said in advisories seen by Reuters.Tensions between India and Pakistan have escalated since India revoked the special status of its portion of the Himalayan region of Kashmir on Aug.

25 Aug 2019

Chinese Survey Ship Nears Vietnam Coast

A Chinese survey vessel on Saturday extended its activities to an area closer to Vietnam's coastline, ship tracking data showed, after the United States and Australia expressed concern about China's actions in the disputed waterways.The Haiyang Dizhi 8 vessel first entered Vietnam's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) early last month where it began a weeks-long seismic survey, triggering a tense standoff between military and coastguard vessels from Vietnam and China.The Chinese vessel…

22 Aug 2019

Seized Stena Bulk Tanker Could be Released Soon

File Image: MarineTraffic.com

Sweden has received "very strong indications" that a British oil tanker seized last month by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz is to be released soon, Swedish public service broadcaster SVT reported on Thursday, citing sources within Sweden's foreign ministry.The Stena Impero, British-owned but operated by Swedish company Stena Bulk, was captured by Iran's Revolutionary Guards on July 19 after passing through the strait at the mouth of the Gulf.Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, visited Sweden earlier this week for talks with Sweden's foreign minister Margot Wallstrom.

19 Aug 2019

Iran Tanker Released, Sets Sail for Greece

The newly renamed Adrian Darya 1, in a file image under its previous name of Grace 1. CREDIT: MarineTraffic.com

An Iranian tanker sailed through the Mediterranean towards Greece on Monday after it was released from detention off Gibraltar, and Tehran said that any at U.S. move to seize the vessel again would have "heavy consequences".The Grace 1, renamed the Adrian Darya 1, left anchorage off Gibraltar about 11 p.m. (2100 GMT) on Sunday. Refinitiv ship tracking data showed on Monday that the vessel was heading to Kalamata in Greece and was scheduled to arrive next Sunday at 0000 GMT.The…

13 Aug 2019

Chinese Ship Returns to Vietnam's EEZ

A Chinese survey ship returned to Vietnam's exclusive economic zone off its coast on Tuesday, ship tracking data showed, less than a week after it left the area where vessels from the two countries were locked in a month-long standoff.The Haiyang Dizhi 8 first entered the zone under Chinese coast guard escort in July and appeared to conduct a seismic survey of waters that are a potential global flashpoint as the United States challenges China's maritime claims.The survey ship, which according to Vietnam left the area on Aug. 7, was now headed back to the zone under escort from at least two Chinese Coast Guard vessels, according to data from Marine Traffic…

06 Aug 2019

Iran Threatens Hormuz Shipping Again

Stena Impero, seized by Iran in July, remains in their custody. Image Credit: MarineTraffic.com / © Irwin Willemse

War with Iran is the mother of all wars, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday in a speech broadcast live on state TV, warning once again that shipping might not be safe in the Strait of Hormuz oil waterway.Tensions have risen between Iran and the West since last year when the United States pulled out of an international agreement which curbed the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in return for an easing of economic sanctions on Iran."Peace with Iran is the mother of all peace…

30 Jul 2019

Vietnamese Fishermen Want Action Against China

A Vietnamese fishermen's group has called on the government to take stronger measures for the removal of a Chinese oil survey vessel that Vietnam accuses of violating its sovereignty in the South China Sea.Vietnamese and Chinese ships have been in a weeks-old standoff near an offshore oil block, the latest confrontation in waters that are a potential global flashpoint as the United States challenges China's sweeping maritime claims.The busy waterway will be high on the agenda this week as countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meet in Bangkok with foreign ministers from China, the United States and other powers.Vietnam…

24 Jul 2019

Stena Bulk: Seized Tanker's Crew Safe

File Image / © MarineTraffic.com

All 23 crew on a British oil tanker seized last week by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz are safe and well, the vessel's Swedish operator Stena Bulk said on Wednesday after speaking to them.The Stena Impero had been heading to a port in Saudi Arabia when it suddenly changed course after passing through the strait at the mouth of the Gulf and headed towards Iran, captured by Iran's Revolutionary Guards.Iran said on Saturday it had seized the Stena Impero because it had collided with a fishing boat.

18 Jul 2019

Revolutionary Guards Seize Oil Tanker in Gulf

Iran has seized a foreign tanker smuggling fuel in the Gulf, state television quoted Iran's Revolutionary Guards as saying on Thursday."A foreign vessel smuggling one million litres of fuel in the Larak Island of the Persian Gulf has been seized," the station said, adding that the ship was seized on Sunday.The Revolutionary Guards said the impounded vessel - which Iranian authorities have not yet named - was the same one it towed after it sent a distress call."The vessel that Iran towed to its waters after receiving a distress call, was later seized with the order from the court as we found out that it was smuggling fuel," the Guards said in a statement quoted by state television.The Guards said they had seized no other ship in the Gulf.Iranian navy vessels came to the assistance of a disa

19 Jul 2019

Vietnam: Chinese Vessel Violated its Sovereignty

Vietnam on Friday accused a Chinese oil survey vessel and its escorts of violating its sovereignty and demanded that China remove the ships from Vietnamese waters.Vietnam and China have for years long been embroiled in a dispute over the potentially energy-rich stretch of waters in the South China Sea.On Wednesday, two U.S.-based think tanks reported that Chinese and Vietnamese vessels had engaged in a standoff lasting several weeks near an oil block in Vietnam's exclusive economic zone.

24 Jul 2019

Sweden in Talks with Iran, UK, Others Over Seized Tanker

Sweden said on Wednesday it was holding talks with Iran, Britain and others over a Swedish-owned, British-flagged tanker seized last week by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz."Sweden is concerned by developments in the Strait of Hormuz. For Sweden and the EU it is vital that freedom of navigation is protected. Given the very serious situation in the region, it is also important that the measures taken help to ease tensions," the foreign ministry said in a statement."Sweden is conducting a dialogue at various levels with the UK, Iran and other relevant stakeholders... and we hope to find a resolution to the issues and de-escalate the tense situation." (Reuters, Reporting by Esha Vaish in Stockholm Editing by Gareth Jones)

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