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INS Visakhapatnam Responds to Merchant Ship with Indian Crew After Houthi Attack

The operator of the British oil tanker reported that the vessel had been "struck by a missile in the Gulf of Aden."

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INS Visakhapatnam, a guided missile destroyer positioned in the Gulf of Aden, responded to a distress call from MV Marlin Luanda on Saturday, 27 January, as reported by the Indian Navy and news agency ANI.

"The vessel, carrying 22 Indian and one Bangladeshi crew members, sought urgent assistance," a Navy spokesperson said, according to ANI.

In quick response to the distress call, INS Visakhapatnam deployed its Ship's NBCD team equipped with firefighting apparatus to assist the crew in enhancing firefighting measures on the troubled MV.

According to international media reports, the tanker, which has 22 Indian and one Bangladeshi crew members on board, caught fire following a missile attack by Yemen's Houthi militants, marking the latest incident linked to the Iran-backed group in the strategic shipping route, the Gulf of Aden.

"The Indian Navy remains steadfast and committed towards safeguarding MVs (merchant vessels) and ensuring the safety of life at sea," emphasized the Indian Navy.

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The operator of the British oil tanker reported that the vessel had been "struck by a missile in the Gulf of Aden after transiting the Red Sea," according to media accounts.

In response to recent incidents of attacks on merchant vessels, the Indian Navy has significantly bolstered its surveillance in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden, deploying frontline destroyers and frigates.

Earlier this month, the Navy responded to a distress call from MV Genco Picardy in the Gulf of Aden following a drone attack on January 17. On January 5, it thwarted an attempted hijacking of the Liberian-flagged vessel MV Lila Norfolk in the North Arabian Sea, rescuing all crew members.

In another incident, the Liberian-flagged vessel MV Chem Pluto, with 21 Indian crew members, was targeted in a drone attack off India's west coast on December 23. Additionally, another commercial oil tanker bound for India experienced a suspected drone strike in the Southern Red Sea on the same day, carrying a team of 25 Indians.

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