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Indian Navy Thwarts Drone Attack on Cargo Vessel in Gulf of Aden, Rescues 22 Crew Members

The Navy once again came to the rescue of a cargo vessel with 22, including nine Indians onboard, which came under attack by drones in the Gulf of Aden.

The Navy received a distress call, and soon after the warship INS Visakhapatnam intercepted the vessel and provided the assistance.

The Indian Navy informed that its Guided Missile Destroyer INS Visakhapatnam mission deployed in Gulf of Aden for anti-piracy operations, “swiftly responded to a distress call by Marshall Island flagged MV Genco Picardy following a drone attack at 2311 hours on January 17 and intercepted the MV at 0030 hrs on 1January 18 to provide assistance”.

MV Genco Picardy with 22 crew, including nine Indians, reported nil casualties and fire under control, said officials.

After intercepting the vessel, MV Genco Picardy, bomb experts from INS Visakhapatnam boarded the ship to inspect the damaged area. “Specialists, after a thorough inspection, have rendered the area safe for further transit. The vessel is proceeding to the next port of call,” Navy said.

The incident comes amid growing concerns over Houthi militants stepping up attacks on merchant vessels in the Red Sea as the Israel-Hamas conflict continues. Navy Chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar has issued instructions to firmly deal with such maritime incidents.

On January 4 also Indian Navy’s Mission Deployed platforms responded swiftly to a maritime incident in Arabian Sea involving a hijacking attempt onboard Liberia Flagged bulk carrier.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that the vessel had sent a message on the UKMTO portal indicating boarding by approximately five to six unknown armed personnel in the evening. Responding swiftly to the developing situation, the Indian Navy launched a Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and diverted INS Chennai deployed for Maritime Security Operations to assist the vessel, officials added.

The aircraft overflew the vessel on early morning of January 5 and established contact with the vessel, ascertaining the Safety of the crew, the MoD officials added.

According to the MoD, India has increased maritime surveillance in the Arabian Sea. The Indian Navy has deployed 10 warships here in view of the incidents of piracy and kidnapping. The Navy has doubled the number of warships here within the last few days. Navy helicopters have also been deployed on the warships.

Houthi Rebels Claim Responsibility for Missile Attack on US Ship

Yemen’s Houthi group on Friday claimed responsibility for carrying out a missile attack on a US ship in the Gulf of Aden.

“The naval forces of the Yemeni Armed Forces (Houthis) carried out an attack targetting a US ship (Chem Ranger) in the Gulf of Aden with several appropriate naval missiles, and the hit was accurate,” Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said in a statement telecasted by Houthi-run al-Masirah TV as quoted by Xinhua news agency report.

ALSO READ-Barrage of US Missiles Targets Houthi Sites Again

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Iran’s IRGC Navy seizes 150K lt of smuggled fuel off coast

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy has seized a vessel allegedly smuggling 150,000 litres of fuel in the waters off the country’s southeastern coast, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported…reports Asian Lite News

A number of Iranian and foreign nationals were arrested, Mohammad Nozari, the Commander of the IRGC Navy’s Imam Ali base in Chabahar city, was quoted as saying.

The vessel plans to deliver the fuel to a neighbouring country, he said, without giving further details.

This is at least the third such seizure in April, Xinhua news agency reported.

ALSO READ: Iran’s IRGC seized ship smuggling 250k L of fuel

On April 15, the IRGC Navy announced it seized a vessel in the Gulf waters carrying 250,000 litres of smuggled fuel.

The official news agency IRNA reported in early April the IRGC Navy seized a foreign tanker carrying 220,000 litres of smuggled fuel in the Gulf and arrested its 11 crew members.

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Sunken fuel ship off Tunisian coast was empty

Tunisian environmental authorities have said the Equatorial Guinea-flagged fuel ship sunk last week off the Tunisian coast was not carrying fuel…reports Asian Lite News

“The Ministry is now certain that this sunken ship does not present any environmental risk,” the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development said on Friday in a statement.

“Any risk of pollution, in the light of preliminary information indicating that the ship was carrying 750 tonnes of fuel, has now been ruled out,” it added.

ALSO READ:163 illegal immigrants rescued off Tunisian coast

According to the National Environmental Protection Agency of Tunisia, the only detected leaks were the ship’s engine oil and do not represent any threats to the environment and the maritime ecosystem of the region in question, Xinhua news agency reported.

The incident occurred a week ago when the vessel heading from Egypt to Malta requested entry to Tunisian waters over bad weather. Its crew sent a distress call 11 km away from the Gabes coast in southeastern Tunisia, saying the water seeped into the engine room to a depth of two metres.

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Fuel ship sinks off Gabes coast in Tunisia

A merchant ship carrying about 750 tons of fuel sank off the Gabes coast in Tunisia, the Tunisian authorities have said…reports Asian Lite News

The Tunisian navy rescued all seven crew members of the Equatorial Guinea-flagged vessel, the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development said on Saturday in a statement.

The Ministry added that it is working on preventing an environmental disaster from the incident, Xinhua news agency reported.

ALSO READ: 163 illegal immigrants rescued off Tunisian coast

The ship sailing from the Egyptian port of Damietta failed to reach its final destination of Malta due to bad weather conditions and the agitation of the sea, said the Ministry.

The crew sent a distress call seven miles away from the Gabes coast, saying the water seeped into the engine room to a height of two metres.

Arab News News

Iran’s IRGC seized ship smuggling 250k L of fuel

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy has announced it has seized a vessel in the Gulf waters carrying 250,000 litres of smuggled fuel, the second such seizure during the past days, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency…reports Asian Lite News

The ship’s seven crew members have been detained and are undergoing legal interrogation procedures, said Gholam Hossein Hosseini, Head of the Public Relations Department of the IRGC’s second naval zone.

ALSO READ: Iran: IAEA continues to monitor nuke activities

Hosseini noted that fighting smuggling, particularly that of fuel, is among the main missions of the IRGC Navy and has been placed on the force’s agenda, Xinhua news agency reported.

The IRGC Navy had also seized a foreign tanker carrying 220,000 litres of smuggled fuel in the Gulf and arrested its 11 crew members, the official news agency IRNA reported last week.

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Britain urges G7 to ban Russian ships  

Russian ships have already been banned from British ports…reports Asian Lite News

Britain will urge G7 nations on Tuesday to ban Russian ships from their ports, agree a timetable to phase out oil and gas imports from Russia, and further tighten sanctions on banks and key industries.

Speaking in Poland ahead of a meeting of G7 foreign ministers later this week, British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is expected to say: “On Thursday, I will be urging our G7 partners to go further by joining us in banning Russian ships from our ports, cracking down on Russian banks, going after new industries filling Putin’s war chest like gold, and agreeing a clear timetable to eliminate our imports of Russian oil and gas.”

In response to the invasion of Ukraine, Britain and international allies have already sanctioned Russian banks and wealthy elites and taken steps to cut Moscow off from the international financial system.

Russian ships have already been banned from British ports.

Truss said existing sanctions had frozen $350 billion of Russian money and made over 60% of its foreign currency reserves unavailable.

“Our coordinated sanctions are pushing the Russian economy back into the Soviet era,” Truss was due to say, according to advance extracts released by her office.

Speaking alongside Polish foreign minister Zbigniew Rau, Truss was due to say the two countries had agreed to step up sanctions and the supply of weapons to Ukraine. Britain did not immediately provide further details.

ALSO READ-We are the NHS’

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First cruise ship docks in Tunisia after 3 years

A cruise ship has docked in a Tunisian port for the first time since 2019, signalling the recovery of the tourism recovery in the North African country…reports Asian Lite News

The cruise ship, Spirit of Discovery, docked on Wednesday at the port of La Goulette with 724 tourists on board, most of whom are British, Xinhua news agency quoted Minister of Tourism and Handicrafts Mohamed Moez Belhassen as saying to the media here.

About 400 tourists left the ship for excursions to Sousse, Kairouan, the Medina and Sidi Bousaid before leaving the country for Spain at 5 p.m..

Belhassen stressed the importance of the return of cruises for Tunisia’s tourism, as well as other sectors such as transport, crafts and culture.

ALSO READ: Over 5mn Tunisians fully vaccinated against Covid-19

The Minister said that a second cruise is expected in April and 40 others throughout this year.

Tourism in Tunisia generated around 19.4 million arrivals per year in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, which made it one of the most visited countries in Africa.

In 2000, there were 197,400 hotel beds in roughly 95,977 rooms with an occupancy rate at 56 per cent. At least 5,057,193 visited Tunisia that year.

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ICG on alert as Portuguese ship spills oil 450 km off Chennai

The Coast Guard said that it had received information from the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Colombo late on Wednesday about a mid sea oil spill about 450 km southeast of Chennai…reports Asian Lite News.

The Indian Coast Guard said on Thursday that 10 kilolitres (KL) of oil have spilled into the sea about 450 km southeast of Chennai from a Portuguese flag container ship named MV Devon.

The vessel was on passage from Colombo to Haldia in West Bengal, carrying 10,795 tonnes of general cargo in 382 containers, manned by 17 crew of mixed nationality.

The Coast Guard said that it had received information from the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre (MRCC) in Colombo late on Wednesday about a mid sea oil spill about 450 km southeast of Chennai.

“The ICG is in continuous contact with MV Devon and the master has reported that the vessel is stable. ICG pollution response team at Chennai has been alerted and kept on standby. In addition, ICG ships and aircraft deployed at sea are also put on alert in pollution response configuration,” the ministry of defence said.
On investigation, it was found that MV Devon had developed an underwater crack on the left side of the fuel tank containing about 120 KL of Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (VLSFO).

The crack resulted in spillage of about 10 KL of oil into the sea before preventive action was taken and the remaining oil in the tank was transferred to another tank by the ship’s crew.

The container carrier is expected to reach Haldia on Friday and as per the ship’s master, the vessel is stable, the Coast Guard said.

ICG saves crew of sinking ship In a daredevil operation, the Indian Coast Guard rescued 16 crew members of a sinking cargo ship near the Revdanda jetty off Maharashtra’s Raigad district, an ICG spokesperson said here.

The incident happened in the early hours when Indian-flagged M.V. Mangalam’s second officer intimated that the ship, with 16 on board, had partially sunk around 3 kms off the Revdanda jetty in the stormy Arabian Sea.

In view of the distress and with water ingress panicking the crew, the ship captain was even planning to abandon the vessel, the ICG was told.

Gauging the seriousness of the situation, the ICG’s MRCC team calmed down the alarmed captain and crew and asked them to remain on board as help was being deployed.

ICG Subhadra Kumari Chauhan immediately set sail from Dighi Port towards the sinking vessel, while two ICG helicopters took from Daman for the evacuation operation.

The ship reached the vicinity of M.V. Mangalam by 10.15 a.m. as challenging weather conditions prevailed, but it sent rescue boats to pick up the crew.

Around that time, the two helicopters also arrived and started winching up the crew of vessel, saving all 16, and flew them to Revdanda for medical aid, said the ICG spokesperson.

ALSO READ-Coast Guard allays fears on oil spill from grounded barge

READ MORE-Indian Coast Guard Commissions ‘Shaurya’