Red Sea Crisis: Navy puts out fire on Houthi hit merchant ship, saves 22 Indians onboard

An Indian naval team extinguished a massive fire on a merchant vessel struck by a missile in the Gulf of Aden on Saturday night, rescuing 23 crew members including 22 Indians from the ship.

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An Indian naval team extinguished a massive fire on a merchant vessel struck by a missile in the Gulf of Aden on Saturday night. They rescued 23 crew members including 22 Indians from the ship.

Warship Responds to SOS Call

INS Visakhapatnam rushed to assist merchant vessel Marlin Launda after it was hit by a projectile on Saturday night. The ship's captain issued a desperate plea for help as flames raged out of control.

A 10-member firefighters crew from the naval warship battled the intense blaze for six hours before finally extinguishing it early Sunday morning. They continue monitoring the tanker to prevent any reignition of the fire.

"After six hours of battling the fire along with the crew of the MV, the fire fighting team has successfully brought the fire under control," an Indian Navy statement said.

In addition to the naval rescue team, ships from the U.S. and France also responded to the distress call, underscoring the severity of the situation.

Captain thanks Indian Navy for saving ship

In a video shared by the Indian Navy, a visibly relieved Captain Abhilash Rawat hailed the timely actions of the INS Visakhapatnam crew that "went out of the way to help us."

"We had lost all hope of fighting this fire. Hats off to Indian Navy whose experts came onboard to fight the fire," said Captain Rawat, adding that the skilled naval firefighters deserves immense credit for bringing the raging fire under control.

Houthi rebels suspected in second such attack

U.S. Central Command said the merchant vessel, owned by a U.K. company, was struck by a missile likely fired by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

The brazen attack comes amid fighting between Israel and Hamas militants supported by Iran. It is the second such incident targeting a vessel with Indian crew members in weeks.

Previous incident of attack

On January 18, INS Visakhapatnam responded after another ship was hit by explosives-laden drones off the Indian coast. There were no casualties in either episode.

However, the repeated attacks have raised alarms and prompted naval ships to remain on high alert in the region. INS Visakhapatnam is currently deployed in the Gulf of Aden on anti-piracy operations.

The 230-meter-long warship is packed with sophisticated weapons and sensors to conduct search and rescue missions as well as maritime security operations.