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Drone attack hits ship with 20 Indians off Gujarat, coast guard makes contact

Dec 23, 2023 10:40 PM IST

Drone Attack Off India's Coast: The vessel, which was carrying crude oil, started from a port in Saudi Arabia.

A drone strike caused an explosion and fire on a merchant ship in the Arabian Sea, news agency ANI reported. No casualties have been reported on the ship. The crew included 20 Indians and an Indian Coast Guard vessel was moving towards the merchant vessel, it added. The vessel, which was carrying crude oil, started from a port in Saudi Arabia. Coast Guard ship, ICGS Vikram has been directed towards the merchant ship.

Drone Attack Off India's Coast: The vessel was carrying crude oil.(Reuters)

The Indian Navy and coast guard swung into action to help the merchant vessel as they diverted a warship and a patrol vessel to a location 217 nautical miles off the Gujarat’s Porbandar coast.

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Who is responsible for the attack

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There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the strike. Last month, an Israeli-owned cargo ship was hit in a suspected drone attack by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the Indian Ocean, a US official said. It was then reported that the vessel which was managed by an Israeli-affiliated company was reportedly damaged when the unmanned aerial vehicle exploded close to it.

What about drone attacks in Red Sea

Drone and missile attacks in the Red Sea by Iran-backed Houthis have also increased following the Israel-Hamas war. Houthis have said that they support Hamas owing to which they will continue to target commercial shipping linked to Israel. This has forced shippers to change course and take longer routes around the southern tip of Africa, Reuters reported.

The White House said Iran was "deeply involved" in planning operations against commercial vessels in the Red Sea as Houthis have have launched more than 100 drone and missile attacks, targeting 10 merchant vessels involving more than 35 different countries, as per the Pentagon.

Iran's threat in Mediterranean Sea

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander said the Mediterranean Sea could be closed if the United States and its allies continued to commit "crimes" in Gaza. "They shall soon await the closure of the Mediterranean Sea, (the Strait of) Gibraltar and other waterways," brigadier general Mohammad Reza Naqdi said as per Reuters.

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