Navy Helps Put Out Fire On Missile-Hit Merchant Ship Carrying 22 Indians

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The fire was brough under control after six hours.

New Delhi:

A fire-fighting team from an Indian Navy warship extinguished a massive blaze onboard a merchant vessel on Saturday night after it was struck by a missile in the Gulf of Aden.

INS Visakhapatnam responded to a SOS call from merchant vessel Marlin Launda after it was targeted by a missile on Saturday. The oil tanker had 22 Indians and one Bangladeshi national on board.

In a statement, the Indian Navy said that a team of 10 firefighters brought the fire under control after six hours. “Fire onboard MV #MarlinLuanda brought under control. After six hours of battling the fire along with the crew of the MV, the fire fighting team has successfully brought the fire under control. The team is currently monitoring the situation to rule out any possibility of reignition,” the Navy said, adding that a US and French warship also responded to the vessel’s distress call. 

The Navy also shared a video of the merchant ship’s captain thanking the warship’s personnel for responding to the SOS call. “I thank Indian Navy warship INS Visakhapatnam. We had lost all hope of fighting this fire. Hats off to Indian Navy whose experts came onboard to fight the fire. Indian Navy went out of the way to help us,” Abhilash Rawat, captain of the merchant vessel said.

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said that the vessel, owned by a UK-based company, was hit by a ballistic missile fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels. The group has been targeting merchant vessels in the Red Sea amid the raging Israel-Hamas conflict. 

On January 18, INS Visakhapatnam had responded to a similar distress call by another merchant vessel with Indian crew which was attacked by drones. Liberian-flagged MV Chem Pluto, with 21 Indian crew members, was the target of a drone attack off India’s west coast on December 23.

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