New Delhi: A merchant ship carrying crude oil from Saudi Arabia to Mangaluru port was attacked by a drone in the Arabian Sea on Saturday, causing an explosion and fire on board. The ship, MV Chem Pluto, had 22 crew members, including 21 Indians and one Nepali, who managed to escape without any injuries.
The attack occurred 200 nautical miles southwest of Veraval, India, and prompted the Indian Navy and Coast Guard to launch a rescue operation. The ship switched off its automatic identification system, which is used to track its location, after the attack. The Indian Coast Guard Dornier maritime surveillance aircraft established communication with the ship and confirmed that its power generation system was now operational and undergoing further checks before leaving for its destination.
The Indian Navy also sent a maritime patrol aircraft to the area, which flew over the ship and made contact with it. An Indian Navy warship was moving towards the ship and was expected to reach it in the next few hours. Another Indian Coast Guard ship, ICGS Vikram, which was deployed on patrol in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone, also started moving towards the distressed ship.
The motive and identity of the attackers are not yet known. The incident has raised concerns over the security of maritime trade in the region, especially in the wake of the recent tensions between Iran and Israel over alleged attacks on their vessels. The Indian authorities are investigating the matter and coordinating with the relevant agencies.