January 1, 2024

India deploys three warships to Arabian Sea after attack on tanker

India deploys three warships to Arabian Sea after attack on tanker

Pictures shows damage to the tanker

India has said it is sending three warships to the Arabian Sea after a drone hit an “Israel-affiliated” merchant vessel off its western coast last week.

MV Chem Pluto was attacked about 200 nautical miles (370km) off the coast of the western state of Gujarat.

The attack triggered a fire but it was quickly extinguished by the crew. There were no casualties.

The vessel’s crew included 21 Indians and a Vietnamese citizen.

The MV Chem Pluto is Liberia-flagged, Japanese-owned, and Netherlands-operated chemical tanker. British Maritime Security firm Ambrey said the ship was linked to Israel but didn’t specify the connection.

Indian media reports said the vessel was transporting oil from Saudi Arabia and was heading to the Mangalore Port in southern India when the attack took place.

After the attack, an Indian Coast Guard ship accompanied the MV Chem Pluto to Mumbai on Monday.

“Considering the recent spate of attacks in the Arabian Sea, Indian Navy has deployed Guided Missile Destroyers, INS Mormugao, INS Kochi and INS Kolkata in various areas to maintain a deterrent presence,” the navy statement said.

The navy added that it was also regularly flying a long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft to monitor the situation.

India heavily relies on fuel shipments from the Middle East, particularly from Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Any disruption in this route can be problematic for India.

“India plays the role of a net security provider in the entire Indian Ocean region,” Indian defence minister Rajnath Singh said on Monday.

Indian Navy Warship INS Kolkata arrives at Hamad Port during the Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition & Conference (DIMDEX) in the Qatari capital Doha on March 20, 2022.
Indian Navy warship INS Kolkata is among the vessels deployed by the country

He said the Indian Navy had increased its surveillance of the seas. “We shall find whoever is responsible for this attack and strict action will be taken against them.”

No group has admitted responsibility for the drone attack. The United States blamed Tehran for the attack but a spokesperson for Iran’s foreign ministry called the accusation “baseless”.

A spate of attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea by Houthi rebels, who are opposed to Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, have triggered concerns for the global shipping industry.

The US Central Command says at least 15 commercial ships have come under attack by Houthi militants so far in the past two months.

Several shipping companies have already changed the course of their vessels to avoid the Red Sea.

That is triggering concerns for exporters in South Asia.

“We are worried. Our shipping agents say the transport cost could increase by 10 to 15% and the travel time will increase by five to seven days,” said Syed Nazrul Islam, vice president of the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association told the BBC.

Bangladesh exports billions of dollars’ worth of ready-made clothes to Europe and the United States.

Though the cost of transport is usually paid by the clothing brands in the West, Mr Islam said Bangladeshi exporters were worried that the buyers would ask for a discount next time when they order.


Source:- https://www.bbc.com/news

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