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19 Jan, 2024 02:28

Indian warship responds to attack off coast of Yemen

The Navy has assisted a vessel in the Gulf of Aden after it was hit by a drone
Indian warship responds to attack off coast of Yemen

An Indian Navy warship has swiftly responded to a distress call from a merchant vessel that came under drone attack in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Yemen. The Navy in a statement on Thursday said that its guided missile destroyer INS Visakhapatnam was deployed to assist the Marshall Island-flagged vessel Genco Picardy, which had been hit by a drone at midnight on Wednesday.

All crew members, including nine Indians, survived the attack and the fire that broke out on the ship was also brought under control. Navy explosives experts boarded the vessel to inspect the damaged area and rendered it “safe” for transiting to its next port of call.

In a similar incident earlier this month, the Indian Navy diverted a destroyer on “anti-piracy” patrol after receiving a distress call from a Liberia-flagged bulk carrier that had been boarded by six armed men off of Somalia’s coast. The destroyer eventually caught up with the hijacked ship and ensured the crew' safety. 

Weeks earlier, an injured crew member from another hijacked vessel, the Maltese-flagged MV Ruen, which had been hijacked in the Arabian Sea by Somali pirates was winched to safety by a naval helicopter. 

New Delhi has bolstered its presence in the Arabian Sea amid increased pirate activity and attacks on passing merchant ships by Yemeni Houthi rebels acting in “solidarity” with Gaza. At least five Indian guided missile destroyers, including the INS Visakhapatnam, are patrolling the region to boost security. The Indian destroyers are believed to be equipped with BrahMos missiles, jointly developed by Russia and India. 

Last month, merchant vessel MC Chem Pluto was attacked off the Indian coast, prompting Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh to promisestrict action.” Notably, the Houthi attacks target a route that accounts for about 15% of the world’s shipping traffic and acts as a vital corridor between Europe and Asia. Nearly 80% of India’s merchandise trade with Europe passes through the Arabian Sea region.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the US, which has formed a ‘naval task force’ with its allies to secure the region, carried out a fourth wave of attacks against alleged militant targets across Yemen, just hours after Washington designated the Houthi rebel group a terrorist organization.

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