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MAE: Aurescu and British counterpart-preliminary exchange of information on 'Mercer Street' ship incident

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Bogdan Aurescu

Minister of Foreign Affairs Bogdan Aurescu had an exchange of views with his British counterpart, Dominic Raab, regarding the incident involving the "Mercer Street" ship incident, informs the Romanian MAE (Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

According to a MAE press release sent on Sunday to AGERPRES, the exchange of views with the Minister of Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Dominic Raab, aimed at elucidating as soon as possible the circumstances in which the violent incident of July 29, 2021, in which a Romanian citizen and a citizen of the United Kingdom died, took place.

The head of British diplomacy conveyed to Minister Aurescu his condolences for the death of the Romanian citizen, together with a citizen of the United Kingdom, following the violent incident on July 29, 2021 in the Hurmuz Strait area, which involved the "Mercer Street" ship, Agerpres informs.

Minister Raab also expressed British authorities' readiness to coordinate with the Romanian side in order to carry out the repatriation procedures.

Minister Bogdan Aurescu thanked his British counterpart for his message of compassion and in turn sent condolences for the death of the UK citizen aboard the same ship, as well as his interest in coordinating joint repatriation efforts.

The two ministers held a preliminary exchange of information on the circumstances of the tragic event, and agreed to remain in close contact until the exact circumstances of the incident are established.

On Saturday, Aurescu also had a telephone conversation with his Israeli counterpart, Yair Lapid, regarding the incident that involved the "Mercer Street" ship in the Arabian Sea.

A Romanian Mercer Street oil crew member and a British crew member were killed in an attack on Thursday, in unclear circumstances, while the ship was moving off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea in the northern Indian Ocean, Israeli company Zodiac Maritime, which manages the vessel, told Reuters, AFP, DPA and EFE.

A Romanian and a British citizen died, according to a company statement, which adds that it does not know if there are any injured people.

At the time of the incident, the Liberian-flagged ship was in the northern Indian Ocean, traveling from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, without cargo on board, according to the statement. An investigation is underway to determine the circumstances of the event.

According to the British maritime operations site UKMTO, an anti-piracy body under the Royal Navy, the attack was reported on Thursday around 18:00 GMT. Zodiac Maritime had confirmed on Twitter "suspicions of piracy" aboard the M/T Mercer Street.

The British Defence Ministry said it was aware of reports of an attack on a merchant ship off the coast of Oman, adding that its headquarters in the region were currently investigating.

The owner of the ship is Japanese, and the ship is managed by the British base of the Zodiac Maritime company, which is owned by the Israeli businessman Eyal Ofer, ranked 197th in the top of the richest people by Forbes, with an estimated fortune of 11.3 billions of dollars.

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