Indian Navy on January 18 revealed that it had rescued a US-operated cargo ship a day earlier. The merchant vessel MV Genco Picardy, sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands, was hit by a drone attack and suffered some damage. The INS Visakhapatnam, a guided missile destroyer of the Indian Navy, mission deployed in the Gulf of Aden for anti-piracy operations promptly responded to the distress call and rescued 22 crew members, including nine Indians. There was no report of any casualties, and the fire on the vessel was contained, the Indian Navy said in a statement.
The Indian Navy’s frontline warship INS Visakhapatnam responded within an hour to the distress call by MV Genco Picardy following the drone attack at 2311 hours on Wednesday, the statement stated. The Indian Navy’s EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) specialists boarded the vessel early Thursday morning to inspect the damaged area, adding thar the vessel was cleared for further transit following thorough scrutiny. The vessel is proceeding to the next port of call.
It said the warship intercepted the vessels at 0030 hours Thursday in order to provide assistance. “Indian Naval EOD specialists from INS Visakhapatnam boarded the vessel in the early hours of January 18 to inspect the damaged area. The EOD specialists, after a thorough inspection, have rendered the area safe for further transit,” the Navy said in a statement.
The strike on the cargo vessel MV Genco Picardy occurred south of Port Aden and came amid increasing global concerns over attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea and Arabian Sea. The Indian Navy, on 5th January, thwarted an attempted hijacking of Liberian-flagged vessel MV Lila Norfolk in the North Arabian Sea and rescued all its crew members. Liberian-flagged vessel MV Chem Pluto, with 21 Indian crew members, was the target of a drone attack off India’s west coast on 23 December. 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 Indian crew.
The Navy has deployed over a dozen of its frontline warships and surveillance aircraft for maritime security operations in view of the increased threat to the maritime domain in critical sea lanes, including in the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden.