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Indian warship INS Kochi renders help to vessel attacked in Red Sea

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NEW DELHI : A mission deployed Indian destroyer INS Kochi intercepted Panama-flagged merchant vessel (MV) Andromeda Star, which came under a Houthi attack in the Red Sea on April 26, and the navy’s explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) specialists boarded the MV for residual risk assessment, the navy said in a statement on Sunday.

An aerial recce by a helicopter was carried out to assess the situation before the EOD team was deployed on board the India-bound merchant vessel.

“A total of 30 crew members, including 22 Indian nationals, are reported to be safe and the vessel is continuing its scheduled transit to the next port,” the statement said.

In a post on X, the Indian Navy wrote: “The MV was intercepted by Indian Navy warship & an aerial recce by helo was undertaken to assess the situation. The shipborne EOD team was deployed onboard MV for residual risk assessment. A total of 30 crew (including 22 Indian nationals) are reported to be safe and the vessel is continuing its scheduled transit to the next port.”

The swift action in the western Arabian Sea reiterates the navy’s commitment and resolve to safeguard the seafarers transiting through the region, it added.

Merchant vessels have faced a barrage of missile and drone attacks by the Houthis in and around Red Sea, and hijacking attempts by Somali pirates in the region.

The navy, which has more than 10 warships deployed in the region, has thwarted several piracy attempts and responded to distress calls made by merchant ships hit by missiles and drones.

The Houthi rebels have been targeting commercial shipping in and around the Red Sea after the Israel-Hamas conflict began on October 7, 2023.

Several shipping companies have suspended their operations in the Red Sea following the attacks, which have forced mariners to change course and take longer routes around the southern tip of Africa.

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