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US military Confirms Houthi Drone Strike on Indian-Flagged Oil Tanker in Red Sea 1

US military verifies Houthi drone attack on an Indian-flagged oil tanker in the Red Sea.

Indian-Flagged Oil Tanker, MV Saibaba, Hit by Houthi Attack Drone in Red Sea; USS Laboon Successfully Intercepts Four Drones Targeting the Warship

US military initiated Operation Prosperity Guardian, securing participation from over a dozen nations. This operation aims to conduct joint patrols in the Red Sea waters adjacent to Yemen.

The Gabon-owned tanker MV Saibaba reported no injuries from the attack, as confirmed by Central Command in a social media post. In the Red Sea, an Indian-flagged crude oil tanker was hit by a Houthi-fired attack drone, prompting a distress call to a nearby US warship, as revealed by the US military on Saturday.

Central Command also stated that a US Navy,US military destroyer patrolling in the Red Sea successfully intercepted four attack drones before they could reach the warship. The USS Laboon shot down these unmanned aerial drones originating from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen. Fortunately, there were no injuries or damage reported.

These incidents occurred amid a series of drone and missile attacks by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels in the Red Sea, following the onset of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7. The Houthi group claims to act in solidarity with Gaza.

Central Command’s statement clarified that on December 23, two Houthi anti-ship ballistic missiles were fired into international shipping lanes in the Southern Red Sea from Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen. The USS Laboon, part of Operation PROSPERITY GUARDIAN (OPG), patrolling in the Southern Red Sea, shot down four unmanned aerial drones between 3 and 8 p.m. (Sanaa time) that were inbound to the vessel. There were no injuries or damage in this incident.

At approximately 8 p.m. (Sanaa time), U.S. Naval Forces Central Command received reports of attacks on two ships in the Southern Red Sea. The M/V BLAAMANEN, a Norwegian-flagged chemical/oil tanker, reported a near miss of a Houthi one-way attack drone with no injuries or damage.

The second vessel, the M/V SAIBABA, a Gabon-owned, Indian-flagged crude oil tanker, reported being hit by a one-way attack drone with no injuries reported. The USS LABOON (DDG 58) responded to the distress calls from these attacks. These incidents mark the 14th and 15th attacks on commercial shipping by Houthi militants since October 17.

The UK Maritime Trade Operations agency previously reported an incident involving an uncrewed aerial system exploding near a vessel in the Bab al-Mandab Strait, located 45 nautical miles southwest of Saleef, Yemen, as per Reuters.

Three days ago, the US military initiated Operation Prosperity Guardian, with over a dozen countries agreeing to participate in joint patrols in the Red Sea waters near Yemen, where the Sanaa-based group has been impeding passage through the strait.

This development follows the Pentagon’s statement revealing that a chemical tanker, the Chem Pluto, was targeted off the coast of India on Saturday by a one-way attack drone fired from Iran. The attack occurred around 10 am local time and caused no casualties, with the fire extinguished. The US military is in communication with the vessel as it continues toward its destination in India.

The Pentagon specified that the Chem Pluto ship, flying under a Liberian flag, was operated by a Dutch entity. Despite a flurry of drone and missile attacks by Houthi rebels in the Red Sea, there has been no immediate claim of responsibility for this strike,US military reported.

In response to a request for assistance of US military, the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard have taken swift action to aid the merchant ship MV Chem Pluto. Carrying chemicals from Saudi Arabia’s Jubail port to Mangalore, the vessel was struck 217 nautical miles from Porbandar at approximately 11:30 am, according to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO).

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In a late-night statement, the Indian Coast Guard confirmed that the vessel is making its way toward Mumbai after conducting damage assessment and repairs on its power generation systems. The Coast Guard Dornier aircraft has sanitized the area, established communication with Chem Pluto, and will be escorting the ship during its passage to Mumbai. The Indian Coast Guard Operations Centre is closely monitoring the situation.

 

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