The explosives that had struck merchant ship MV Chem Pluto had detonated fully, experts who examined the remains have found. It was suspected that the ship, which returned to Mumbai yesterday with a huge gash on her stern, was struck by a drone 400 km off India’s west coast. Going by the remains of the attack vehicle, the experts who examined the ship today, have concluded that it was indeed a drone.
After sanitisation and preliminary analysis, which is now in Mumbai, Explosive Ordnance Disposal specialists have said that the explosive charge on the drone “detonated completely causing extensive damage above waterline”.
“Remnants of projectile have been collected by the Indian Navy for further forensic analysis,” the Indian Navy told the media.
Consequent to the drone strike, India will now deploy warships, aircraft and other assets in the Indian Ocean to protect merchant vessels.
“In light of the recent maritime incidents in the Arabian Sea, IN has commenced focused maritime security operations in the region. The presence of IN warships and air surveillance in the region has been enhanced. Actions are being progressed in coordination with national maritime agencies towards ensuring safety of merchant marine in the region,” the Navy said.
Already, the Navy and the Indian Coast Guard have moved destroyers in the Arabian Sea. Three warships — MV Mormugao, Kochi and Kolkata — and maritime patrol aircraft was deployed on Saturday soon after the UK Maritime Trade Operations, or UKMTO, reported the drone attack.
Yemen’s Houthi rebel group has been stepping up its attack on ships in the Red Sea shipping lane in retaliation to Israel’s air strikes in Gaza.
The MV Chem Pluto, though, was struck while passing Iran — the obvious conclusion from the situation has been vehemently denied by Iran.
The US Defence headquarters Pentagon has said the ship was hit by “a one-way attack drone fired from Iran”.
India will track down those behind attacks on Merchant Navy ships, “even from the depths of the sea” and take action against them, Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has said.
MV Chem Pluto, an oil tanker, had sailed from Saudi Arabia and was headed for Mangaluru in Karnataka when it was attacked.
A second oil tanker – the Gabon-registered MV Sai Baba, with 25 Indian crew members on board – was also attacked by a drone in the Southern Red Sea, Indian and American military officials have said.
Houthi rebels,MV Chem Pluto,Yemen,Gaza war,Drone attack on ship