Indian Navy rescues 21 crew members from vessel hit in Red Sea attack by Houthis

In second such incident this week, a Barbados-flagged merchant vessel came under a drone/missile attack drawing a response from an Indian naval warship.

According to the Navy, the Barbados-Flagged Bulk Carrier MV True Confidence was reportedly hit by a drone/missile, approximately 55 nautical miles South West of Aden Wednesday. This led to a fire onboard and caused critical injuries to some of the crew members, prompting them to abandon the ship.

INS Kolkata, deployed for Maritime Security Operations, arrived at the scene of action at 4.45 pm and rescued 21 crew members, including one Indian national, from the life raft using its integral helicopter and boats.

Critical aid was provided to the injured crew by the ship’s medical team, the Navy said, adding that the warship evacuated the rescued crew, including the critically injured personnel, to Djibouti Wednesday evening.

Since the Israel-Hamas war began in October, a series of drone and missile attacks on commercial ships have taken place in the Red Sea, especially on those bound for Israel. The attacks have been reportedly perpetrated by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. However, this is the first incident where the crew of a merchant vessel has been critically injured.

A Liberian-flagged commercial vessel came under a drone strike Monday in the Gulf of Aden. Last month, a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker Marlin Luanda came under a missile attack and another drone strike was reported on another Marshall Islands-flagged vessel, MV Genco Picardy. The Navy has rendered assistance in both the incidents.

In December, a Liberia-flagged merchant vessel, MV Chem Pluto, carrying a crew of 22, of which 21 were Indians, came under a drone attack about 220 nautical miles southwest of Porbandar, while it was on its way to New Mangalore.

The Navy has deployed around 10-12 warships at the Arabian Sea, including INS Kochi, INS Mormugao, INS Kolkata, INS Chennai, and a Talwar Class frigate. The Navy’s P8I maritime patrol aircraft, MQ-9B Predator drones and Dornier aircraft are also carrying out enhanced surveillance of the region and the force is involved in active investigation of vessels in the Arabian Sea, including boarding of dhows.

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