Indian warship rescues 21 crew members of drone-hit vessel in Gulf of Aden

Indian Navy personnel conduct a rescue operation after Barbados Flagged Bulk Carrier MV True Confidence reported an incident of fire, in the Gulf of Aden.
Indian Navy personnel conduct a rescue operation after Barbados Flagged Bulk Carrier MV True Confidence reported an incident of fire, in the Gulf of Aden.

New Delhi | Indian warship INS Kolkata rescued 21 crew members, including an Indian national, after three of their colleagues in a Barbados-flagged cargo vessel were killed following a Houthi missile strike on the bulk carrier in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday.

The deaths were the first since the Houthi militants began attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea and adjoining shipping lanes in response to Israel's military offensive in Gaza.

The crew abandoned the vessel True Confidence after the attack, military officials said.

INS Kolkata, deployed for maritime security operations in the Gulf of Aden, arrived at the scene of action at 4.45 pm on Wednesday and rescued 21 crew members, including one Indian national, from a life raft using its integral helicopter and boats, Indian Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said.

The US Central Command reported "three fatalities, at least four injuries, of which three are in critical condition, as well as significant damage to the ship".

According to reports, two of the sailors killed in the missile strike were Filipinos and the other one was from Vietnam.

The Barbados-flagged vessel was reportedly hit by a drone approximately 55 nm south west of Aden resulting in the fire on board and critical injuries to some of the crew members forcing the crew to abandon the ship, Madhwal said.

Critical medical aid was provided to the injured crew by the ship's medical team, he said in a written statement.

The rescued crew, including the critically injured personnel, have been evacuated to Djibouti by INS Kolkata.

The Indian Navy warship swiftly responded to the maritime incident in Gulf of Aden, Madhwal said.

It is learnt that two crew members died on board True Confidence as they could not leave the ship while the third one was declared dead following the rescue operation.

The fresh incident came amid increasing global concerns over attacks on various commercial vessels in the Red Sea by the Houthi militants.

In the last few weeks, the Indian Navy has extended assistance to a number of merchant vessels in the Western Indian Ocean following attacks on them.

In a statement, the US Central Command said an anti-ship ballistic missile was launched from "Iranian-backed Houthi terrorist-controlled areas of Yemen toward M/V True Confidence, a Barbados-flagged, Liberian-owned bulk carrier, while transiting the Gulf of Aden".

"The missile struck the vessel, and the multinational crew reports three fatalities, at least four injuries, of which three are in critical condition, and significant damage to the ship," it said.

"The crew abandoned the ship and coalition warships responded and are assessing the situation," it said.

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