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Houthi militants: Indian warship provides assistance to merchant vessel in Gulf of Aden

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An Indian warship provided critical assistance to a merchant vessel after it caught fire following a suspected drone or missile attack in the Gulf of Aden, the latest in a series of such support missions in the region. Palau-flagged vessel MV Islander came under attack on Thursday and a crew member of the ship sustained injuries, Indian military officials said on Saturday.

An explosive ordnance disposal team of the Navy embarked the vessel and sanitised it for any residual risk following which the vessel was cleared for onward transit, they said.

The fresh incident comes amid growing global concerns over attacks on various commercial vessels in the Red Sea by Houthi militants.

A medical team of the Indian Navy also embarked MV Islander and provided medical assistance to the injured crew member, they said.

In a swift response to a distress call from the vessel, the Indian warship arrived in the vicinity of the cargo ship within a few hours to provide critical support, an official said.

“Relentless efforts by Indian Naval ships reaffirms the Indian Navy’s steadfast commitment towards safety and security of merchant shipping and seafarers,” Indian Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said. In the last few weeks, the Indian Navy extended assistance to a number of merchant vessels in the Western Indian Ocean following attacks on them. The Indian Navy, earlier this month, foiled a piracy attempt on an Iranian-flagged fishing vessel with a crew of 11 Iranian and eight Pakistani nationals along the east coast of Somalia.

In January, an Indian warship rescued 19 Pakistani crew members of an Iranian-flagged fishing vessel after it was attacked by pirates in the east coast of Somalia.

The Navy on January 5 thwarted an attempted hijacking of Liberian-flagged vessel MV Lila Norfolk in the North Arabian Sea and rescued all its crew members.

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

The Navy has already enhanced deployment of its frontline ships and surveillance aircraft for maritime security operations in view of the maritime environment in the critical sea lanes, including in the north and central Arabian Sea.

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