New Delhi: An Indian merchant ship with 22 Indian and 1 Bangladeshi crew member aboard was hit by a missile in the Gulf of Aden today, sparking immediate response from the Indian Navy.
SOS Answered: Guided-missile destroyer INS Visakhapatnam rushed to the scene after receiving the distress call from the vessel, identified as Marlin Launda. The ship is reported to have caught fire following the missile strike.
Firefighting Assistance: INS Visakhapatnam is currently assisting with firefighting efforts on the Marlin Launda, ensuring the safety of the crew. The Indian Navy remains committed to safeguarding merchant vessels and upholding the safety of life at sea, as stated in their official statement.
Mounting Concerns: This incident comes amidst heightened concerns regarding Houthi militants’ increased attacks on merchant vessels in the Red Sea, coinciding with the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. Following the attack, Admiral R Hari Kumar, Chief of the Naval Staff, instructed the Navy to handle these maritime incidents firmly.
Previous Attacks: Just 11 days ago, another merchant ship with Indian crew members was targeted by drones in the Gulf of Aden. INS Visakhapatnam swiftly intercepted and assisted the vessel after receiving their distress call.
Drone Attacks Elsewhere: Notably, this isn’t the first incident involving Indian vessels facing attacks on international waters. On December 23, MV Chem Pluto, a Liberian-flagged ship with 21 Indian crew members, was targeted by a drone attack off India’s west coast. On the same day, another commercial oil tanker heading towards India faced a suspected drone strike in the Southern Red Sea, carrying 25 Indian crew members.
The situation in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden remains volatile, necessitating heightened vigilance and prompt action from the Indian Navy to ensure the safety of Indian seafarers and merchant vessels transiting through these crucial waterways.