Highlights

  • Drone hit on Israel linked vessel
  • US blamed Iran for attack in Arabian sea
  • Indian Navy launches probe into drone-hit

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Drone hit on Israel-linked vessel: US blames Iran, Indian Navy begins probe

The Liberian flagged vessel is now on its way to Mumbai and Indian Coast Guard ship ICGS Vikram is providing security to it.

Drone hit on Israel-linked vessel: US blames Iran, Indian Navy begins probe

The Indian Navy has launched an investigation into a suspected drone strike on a Mangalore-bound cargo vessel off India's west coast in the Arabian sea even as the merchant ship is on its way to Mumbai, officials familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

The Navy and the Indian Coast Guard swung into action by deploying their assets including a warship and maritime patrol aircraft on Saturday soon after the UK Maritime Trade Operations, or UKMTO, reported the drone "attack" on MV Chem Pluto that has around 20 Indian crew members.

There was no report of any casualty in the incident.

The Liberian flagged vessel is now on its way to Mumbai and Indian Coast Guard ship ICGS Vikram is providing security to it, the officials said.

The Navy has launched an investigation into the incident including into the origin of the strike, said an official on the condition of anonymity as the matter is sensitive in nature.

The vessel, carrying crude oil to the New Mangalore port from the Al Jubail port in Saudi Arabia, was struck about 217 nautical miles from Porbandar, said another official.

The Navy sent stealth guided-missile destroyer INS Mormugao to the location of the drone strike on Saturday and the officials said the warship is in the process of examining various details relating to the attack, the officials said.

The incident came against the backdrop of Iran-backed Houthi rebels stepping up attacks on ships in the Red Sea amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Late last night, the Indian Coast Guard said MV Chem Pluto started making way towards Mumbai poat undertaking damage assessment and repairs on its power generation systems.

"The Coast Guard Dornier aircraft has sanitised the area and established communication with Chem Pluto. The vessel has started making way towards Mumbai post undertaking damage assessment and repairs on its power generation systems," it said.

"The vessel is likely to enter Mumbai and sought escort assistance due to steering issues. Indian Coast Guard Ship Vikram will be escorting the ship during its passage. The Indian Coast Guard Operations Centre is monitoring the situation closely," it said.

Earlier on Saturday, the UKMTO, that operates under Britain's Royal Navy, said it received a report of an attack by Uncrewed Aerial System (UAS) on a vessel causing an explosion and fire, adding the incident took place 200 nautical miles South West of Veraval in India.

It said the fire was "extinguished" and there were no casualties.

The Coast Guard said its Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Mumbai received information regarding the fire onboard MV Chem Pluto.

"The MRCC established real time communication with the vessel's agent and ascertained no loss of life and assured all assistance, he said adding the Coast Guard immediately diverted other merchant vessels in the vicinity of Chem Pluto for rendering assistance," it said.

The UKMTO is a British military organisation that provides maritime security information and largely acts as the primary point of contact for merchant vessels involved in maritime incidents.

It receives reports and information on suspicious incidents from merchant shipping and shares that information with its regional, national contacts, as well as Industry and vessels operating in that area, according to UKMTO.

Also Watch: Oil tanker hit in Red Sea not Indian-flagged, says Navy: report


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