In a concerning incident, a drone attack has struck a merchant ship in the Arabian Sea off India’s coast, resulting in an explosion and subsequent fire. The vessel, which was transporting crude oil and had departed from a Saudi Arabian port, had a crew of 20 Indians on board. Fortunately, no casualties have been reported, and an Indian Coast Guard vessel, ICGS Vikram, is en route to provide assistance.
The attack, for which there is no immediate claim of responsibility, echoes recent incidents in the region. Last month, an Israeli-owned cargo ship was hit in a suspected drone attack by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in the Indian Ocean. The vessel, managed by an Israeli-affiliated company, suffered damage when an unmanned aerial vehicle exploded nearby.
The rise in drone and missile attacks in the Red Sea by Iran-backed Houthis has also been noted, particularly following the Israel-Hamas war. The Houthis, expressing support for Hamas, have targeted commercial shipping linked to Israel. This has forced shippers to alter their routes, taking longer paths around the southern tip of Africa to avoid potential threats.
The White House has asserted that Iran is deeply involved in planning operations against commercial vessels in the Red Sea. The Pentagon reports that Houthis have launched over 100 drone and missile attacks, targeting 10 merchant vessels involving more than 35 different countries.
Amidst growing tensions, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander warned that the Mediterranean Sea could face closure if the United States and its allies continued to commit what he referred to as “crimes” in Gaza. Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi stated, “They shall soon await the closure of the Mediterranean Sea, (the Strait of) Gibraltar, and other waterways,” according to Reuters.
As the situation unfolds, the international community remains vigilant, emphasizing the need for diplomatic efforts to address the rising maritime security concerns in the region.
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