Indian Navy deploys major warships to counter attacks in Arabian Sea

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New Delhi [India], December 25: After the attack by a suspected drone on merchant vessel MV Chem Pluto on December 23, the Indian Navy deployed multiple Guided Missile Destroyers including INS Mormugao, INS Kochi and INS Kolkata in various areas of the Arabian Sea to maintain a deterrent presence, Indian Navy said in an official press release on Monday.
Moreover, long-range maritime reconnaissance P8I aircraft are also being regularly tasked to maintain domain awareness.
The release stated that the Western Naval Command’s Maritime Operations Centre is actively monitoring the situation in close coordination with the Coast Guard and all concerned agencies.
Meanwhile, the MV Chem Pluto, (Liberian Flag Chemical/lOil Tanker), carrying 21 Indian and 01Vietnamese crew reached Mumbai and anchored safely at Outer Anchorage off Mumbai at 1530hr on 25 Dec 23.
On her arrival, the Indian Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal team inspected the vessel to make a preliminary assessment of the type and nature of the attack.
The analysis of the area of attack and debris found on the ship hinted towards a drone attack but further forensic and technical analysis will be required to establish the vector of attack, including type and amount of explosive used.
As per the Indian Navy statement, a Joint Investigation by various agencies has commenced on completion of the analysis by the Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Team and MV Chem Pluto has been cleared for further operation by her 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.
Moreover, the defence officials said that the Indian Navy warships will be further enhancing their patrolling in the region to keep the Indian and other merchant vessels safe in the region.
MV Chem Pluto, with 20 Indian and one Vietnamese crew member on Saturday caught fire after it was attacked by a suspected drone. It was later secured by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), the ICG said in an official statement.
The merchant vessel reportedly commenced its voyage from the UAE on December 19 and was bound for New Mangalore port with an arrival date of December 25.
According to the official statement, on December 23, the Indian Coast Guard Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Mumbai received information regarding a fire onboard MV Chem Pluto, reportedly attacked by a suspected drone strike or aerial platform.
The Indian Coast Guard Maritime Coordination Centre (MRCC), which established real-time communication with the vessel’s agent, ascertained no loss of life and assured all assistance.
It was also learned that the vessel fire had been doused by the crew. To augment the vessel’s safety, MRCC Mumbai has activated ISN and immediately diverted other merchant vessels in the vicinity of Chem Pluto for assistance.
“The Indian Coast Guard also pressed Offshore Patrol vessel Vikram and Coast Guard Dornier maritime surveillance aircraft into action for rendering assistance to Chem Pluto. The Coast Guard Dornier aircraft has sanitised the area and established communication with Chem Pluto. The vessel has started making its way towards Mumbai after undertaking damage assessment and repairs on its power generation systems,” the statement further read.

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