Drone Strikes Ship With 20 Indians Off Gujarat, Coast Guard Makes Contact

A drone strike caused an explosion and fire on a merchant ship in the Indian Ocean on Saturday but no casualties were reported, a maritime agency said.

Drone Strikes Ship With 20 Indians Off Gujarat, Coast Guard Makes Contact

A drone strike caused an explosion and fire on a merchant ship in the Arabian Sea on Saturday, but no casualties have been reported. The crew includes 20 Indians, and an Indian Coast Guard vessel is moving towards the merchant vessel, MV Chem Pluto, which is 217 nautical miles off the Porbandar coast, news agency ANI reported.

Coast Guard officials said a Dornier maritime surveillance aircraft has established communication with the distressed vessel.

The vessel, which is carrying crude oil, was going towards Mangaluru from a port in Saudi Arabia. Defence officials said the Coast Guard ship, ICGS Vikram, which was patrolling the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone, has been directed towards the merchant ship in distress. The Coast Guard vessel has alerted all ships in the area to provide assistance to it. All crew members are safe.

As per the ANI report, Coast Guard officials said MV Chem Pluto has begun moving at a speed of 11 nautical miles and will be joined by ICGS Vikram around 10 pm. They said the vessel is expected to reach Mumbai early on Monday.

After the drone attack, the ship had switched off its Automatic Identification System, which can be used for tracking.

The incident comes days after the Indian Navy helped in the evacuation of an injured sailor from a hijacked Malta-flagged cargo vessel on Monday. It had been reported that six “pirates” had illegally boarded the ship, the MV Ruen, in the Arabian Sea.