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Indian warship rescues 21 crew members from drone-hit vessel in Gulf of Aden

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New Delhi: Indian Navy swiftly responded to a distress call from the Gulf of Aden where a merchant vessel caught fire after being hit by a missile, and rescued 21 crew members, including one Indian national.

The Indian Navy informed in a statement on Thursday that its naval warship, INS Kolkata swiftly acted against Wednesday’s maritime incident and all the crew members were safely evacuated to Djibouti.

As per the Navy, Barbados Flagged Bulk Carrier MV True Confidence was reportedly hit by a drone/ missile, approximately 55 nm South West of Aden, on Wednesday, resulting in a fire onboard and critical injuries to some of the crew members forcing the crew to abandon the ship.

INS Kolkata, deployed for Maritime Security Operations arrived at the scene of action at 1645 hours and rescued 21 crew members, including one Indian national, from the life raft using its integral helicopter and boats. Critical medical aid was also provided to the injured crew by the ship’s medical team.

The rescued crew, including the critically injured personnel, were evacuated to Djibouti on March 6 by INS Kolkata.

Earlier on Wednesday, INS Kolkata responded to another distress call from a Liberian-flagged container vessel, MSC Sky II which was reportedly attacked by a drone or missile in the southeast of Aden.In a swift action after the distress call at 7:00 pm, the INS Kolkata mission deployed was immediately diverted to render necessary assistance and reached near the attacked ship at 10:30 pm, an official statement said.Additionally, based on the request of the master, the Merchant vessel (MV) was escorted from the scene of the incident to the territorial waters of Djibouti by the Indian Navy ship.

According to the statement, the crew of 23 personnel, including 13 Indian nationals are safe and the vessel is proceeding to her next destination.

Earlier on Tuesday, a 12-member specialist firefighting team, ex-Kolkata, embarked on the MV and provided assistance in extinguishing the residual fire and smoke. Additionally, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team also embarked on the MV for residual risk assessment.

Last month, responding to the distress call from the Fishing Vessel, an Indian Naval ship, mission deployed in the North Arabian Sea for maritime security operations, provided damage control assistance and undertook strengthening of the hull, rendering the boat safe for further transit.

Medical aid was also extended to three injured crew members.

The relentless and persistent efforts of the Indian Navy reaffirm its resolve towards the safety of all vessels and seafarers transiting in the region, the statement added.

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