Merchant Ship, With 22 Indians On Board, Hit By Missile. Navy Responds To SOS

MV Marlin Launda catches fire after a missile strike in the Gulf of Aden

New Delhi:

A guided-missile destroyer of the Indian Navy has responded to an SOS call by a merchant ship struck by a missile in the Gulf of Aden, the navy said in a statement today.

There are 22 Indian and a Bangladeshi crew on board.

INS Visakhapatnam took the distress call of the merchant vessel Marlin Launda after it reported a missile hit. The vessel caught fire.

The Indian Navy said INS Visakhapatnam is helping with firefighting on the cargo ship.

“Indian Navy remains steadfast and committed towards safeguarding merchant vessels and ensuring safety of life at sea,” the navy said in the statement.

The missile strike comes amid growing concerns over Houthi militants stepping up attacks on merchant vessels in the Red Sea amid the Israel-Hamas conflict. Admiral R Hari Kumar issued instructions to firmly deal with such maritime incidents.

On January 18, a merchant vessel with Indian crew members came under attack by drones in the Gulf of Aden. After receiving a distress call, India deployed INS Visakhapatnam, which intercepted the vessel and gave assistance.

Liberian-flagged MV Chem Pluto, with 21 Indian crew members, was the target of a drone attack off India’s west coast on December 23.

Besides MV Chem Pluto, another commercial oil tanker that was heading to India came under a suspected drone strike in the Southern Red Sea on the same day. The vessel had a team of 25 Indian crew.

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