Merchant ship attacked by drone in Gulf of Aden set to dock at Tuticorin | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Merchant ship attacked by drone in Gulf of Aden set to dock at Tuticorin

ByRahul Singh
Jan 25, 2024 08:12 PM IST

Houthi militia has been targeting commercial shipping in the Red Sea with missiles and drones after the Israel-Hamas conflict began on October 7

New Delhi: A Marshall Islands-flagged merchant vessel, which was attacked by a drone in the Gulf of Aden last week, is set to dock at the Tuticorin port in Tamil Nadu after the Indian Navy’s explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) specialists undertook a thorough examination of the ship and declared it safe for port entry, officials familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Indian Navy’s explosive ordnance disposal specialists undertook a thorough examination of the merchant vessel and declared it safe for port entry (Indian Navy Photo)
Indian Navy’s explosive ordnance disposal specialists undertook a thorough examination of the merchant vessel and declared it safe for port entry (Indian Navy Photo)

India’s guided missile destroyer INS Visakhapatnam had on January 18 responded to a distress call made by MV Genco Picardy after it was attacked, and EOD specialists from the Indian warship boarded the ship to inspect the damage.

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“The Indian Naval EOD team on board offshore patrol vessel INS Sunayna embarked MV Genco Picardy in the early hours of January 24 off Kochi. The EOD team undertook a thorough examination of the damaged area and rendered the MV safe for port entry,” the navy said in a statement on Thursday.

Also Read: India set to begin delivery of BrahMos missiles to Philippines

The navy is committed to the safety of merchant shipping and seafarers transiting in the Indian Ocean region, it added.

The January 18 incident was the latest in a series of drone and pirate attacks on merchant vessels in the region, including the Red Sea and parts of the Arabian Sea. MV Genco Picardy is carrying a crew of 22, including nine Indians.

The navy has stepped up surveillance in the troubled region substantially and deployed task groups consisting of around 10 warships in the face of the recent attacks on India-bound merchant vessels, including MV Chem Pluto and MV Saibaba in December.

The drone attack on MV Chem Pluto took place around 220 nautical miles southwest of Porbandar, while the other vessel was targeted in the southern Red Sea.

Houthi militia has been targeting commercial shipping in the Red Sea with missiles and drones after the Israel-Hamas conflict began on October 7. The Iran-backed Houthi rebels declared their support for Hamas. Several shipping companies have suspended their operations in the Red Sea following the attacks, which have forced mariners to change course and take longer routes around the southern tip of Africa.

Also Read: Deeply concerned about Red Sea, Gulf of Aden situation: MEA

The situation in Gaza and the attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea and parts of the Arabian Sea were on January 15 the focus of discussions between external affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in Tehran, with the Indian minister flagging concerns about a perceptible increase in threats to the safety of maritime traffic in the region including attacks in the vicinity of the Indian coast.

On January 18, the ministry of external affairs said that India was deeply concerned about the situation unfolding in the Red Sea and parts of the Arabian Sea as attacks by Houthi rebels on commercial vessels in the region impacted not only the country’s economic interests but of others too.

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