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India deploys 3 Guided Missile Destroyers in Arabian Sea after drone attack

The chemical/oil tanker MV Chem Pluto, operating under the Liberian flag with a crew of 21 Indians and one Vietnamese, was reportedly attacked by a suspected drone on December 23, 2023. The vessel has safely reached Mumbai, anchoring at the Outer Anchorage off Mumbai at 1530 hours on December 25, 2023.

Upon its arrival, the Indian Navy’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal team conducted an inspection to preliminarily assess the attack’s nature and type. Initial findings from the analysis of the attack site and debris suggest a drone strike. However, a more detailed forensic and technical investigation is necessary to confirm the attack’s specifics, including the type and quantity of explosives used.

Picture of INS Imphal

A comprehensive investigation has been initiated by various agencies following the Navy’s initial assessment. MV Chem Pluto has received clearance from its managing company in Mumbai for further operations.

Before resuming its duties, the ship is slated to undergo mandatory inspections and a Ship to Ship (STS) cargo transfer. This will likely be followed by docking and repairs to the damaged sections of MV Chem Pluto.

In response to a series of attacks in the Arabian Sea, the Indian Navy has strategically deployed Guided Missile Destroyers, including INS Mormugao, INS Kochi, and INS Kolkata, in various regions to establish a deterrent presence. Additionally, long-range P8I maritime reconnaissance aircraft are being regularly deployed for heightened domain awareness.

The Western Naval Command’s Maritime Operations Centre is vigilantly overseeing the situation, coordinating closely with the Coast Guard and all relevant agencies to ensure maritime security.

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