Merchant Ship Was Hit By Drone 400 Km West Of Indian Coast, Confirms Navy

Merchant ship MV Chem Pluto was struck by drone 400 km west of Indian coastline, confirms Navy analysis

Merchant Ship Was Hit By Drone 400 Km West Of Indian Coast, Confirms Navy

The merchant vessel MV Chem Pluto was struck by a drone 400 km of the Indian coastline, a Navy analysis confirmed today. The ship with 21 crew members (20 Indians and 1 Vietnamese) arrived at the Mumbai port under the protection of Indian Coast Guard ship Vikram today, two days after it was struck in the Arabian sea.

On its arrival, an explosive ordnance disposal team of the Navy carried out a detailed inspection of the ship.

Analysis of the area of attack and debris found on the ship pointed towards a drone attack and further forensic and technical analysis will be required to ascertain all the details, Navy officials said.

Several images showed the damage caused to the stern (rear) of the ship by the suspected drone attack.

The attack came amid a flurry of new drone and missile attacks by Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels on the vital Red Sea shipping lane since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7, with the group claiming to act in solidarity with Gaza.

Amid the spate of recent attacks on commercial vessels in the Arabian Sea, the Navy has deployed warships INS Mormugao, INS Kochi and INS Kolkata to maintain a deterrent presence in the region, the officials said. Long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft P8Is are being regularly tasked to maintain domain awareness, they said.

The Pentagon claimed the tanker ship was targeted by a drone "fired from Iran." It was the first time the Pentagon openly accused Iran of directly targeting ships since the start of Israel's war on Hamas, which is backed by Tehran.

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 the ship.

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.

The vessel was reportedly carrying crude oil to the New Mangalore port from the Al Jubail port in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, MV Chem Pluto has been cleared for further operation by its company-in-charge at Mumbai. The ship is scheduled to undergo mandatory checks by the various inspecting authorities before undertaking Ship to Ship (STS) transfer of cargo. This is likely to be followed by docking and repairs of the damaged portion of MV Chem Pluto.