New Delhi: The Indian Navy on Saturday said its guided missile destroyer INS Visakhapatnam has deployed a team to help fire-fighting efforts on board British oil tanker MV Marlin Luanda which has got 22 Indian and one Bangladeshi crew members.
According to foreign media reports, the tanker caught fire after a missile attack by Yemen’s Houthi militants, the latest incident linked to the Iran-backed group in the key shipping route Gulf of Aden.
On a request from MV Marlin Luanda, INS Visakhapatnam has deployed its NBCD team along with fire-fighting equipment to render assistance to the crew towards augmenting fire-fighting efforts on board the distressed ship, a Navy spokesperson said.
“The Indian Navy remains steadfast and committed towards safeguarding MVs (merchant vessels) and ensuring safety of life at sea,” the Indian Navy said.
The operator of the British oil tanker has said the vessel had been “struck by a missile in the Gulf of Aden after transiting the Red Sea”, according to the reports.
The Indian Navy has significantly increased its surveillance apparatus in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden by deploying frontline destroyers and frigates in view of recent incidents of attacks on merchant vessels.
Earlier this month, the Indian Navy responded to a drone attack distress call from MV Genco Picardy in the Gulf of Aden on the night of January 17, and on January 5, it had thwarted an attempted hijacking of Liberian-flagged vessel MV Lila Norfolk in the North Arabian Sea and rescued all its crew members.
Earlier, 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.
Besides MV Chem Pluto, another commercial oil tanker that was on the way to India came under a suspected drone strike in the Southern Red Sea on the same day. The vessel had a team of 25 Indians.