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'We had lost hope...' Missile-struck ship's captain thanks Indian Navy for help; US hails joint teamwork

The MV Marlin Luanda was struck by an Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) launched by Iranian-backed Houthi forces in the Gulf of Aden. The Indian Navy's INS Visakhapatnam swiftly responded to a distress call and successfully extinguished a subsequent fire onboard with a specialized firefighting team

We had lost hope Missile-struck ship's captain thanks Indian Navy for help; US hails international cooperation
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First Published Jan 28, 2024, 9:20 AM IST

The United States Central Command has expressed gratitude to the Indian Navy and French Navy for their swift response in aiding the Marshall Islands-flagged, Bermuda-owned MV Marlin Luanda. The vessel fell victim to an Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile (ASBM) launched by Iranian-backed Houthi forces in the Gulf of Aden.

Responding to a distress call, the Indian Navy's INS Visakhapatnam played a crucial role in providing assistance. Upon the request of the Marlin Luanda's Master, a specialized fire-fighting team from INS Visakhapatnam, consisting of 10 Indian Naval personnel equipped with specialist firefighting gear, boarded the vessel in the early hours of January 27. After six hours of intense efforts alongside the Marlin Luanda's crew, the fire was successfully brought under control.

The captain of the vessel expressed gratitude to the Indian Navy, stating, "We had lost hope... hats off to the Indian Navy."

The US Central Command took to the social media platform X (formerly Twitter) to provide additional details. The Marlin Luanda, carrying a cargo of Naphtha, a highly flammable liquid hydrogen mixture, experienced a major fire in one of its cargo holds following the missile strike. The USS Carney (DDG 64), French Navy Frigate FS Alsace (D656), and Indian Navy Frigate INS Visakhapatnam (DD66) promptly responded, supplying critical firefighting material and assistance to the civilian crew, whose organic firefighting capabilities had been exhausted. The multinational crew comprised 22 Indian and 1 Bangladeshi members.

The statement from the US Central Command affirmed that thanks to the rapid response of the U.S., Indian, and French navies, the fire is now extinguished. Importantly, there were no casualties, the ship remains seaworthy and has resumed its previous course. The statement concluded with appreciation for the Combined Maritime Forces partners for their effective teamwork, averting a potential disaster that could have endangered lives and the seaworthiness of the ship, while also posing a significant risk of environmental damage.

The US Central Command condemned the Houthi missile strike, emphasizing that the vessel and its crew had no affiliation to Israel, and the attack had no connection to the conflict in Gaza. Criticizing the Houthis for their indiscriminate firing into the Red Sea, the statement noted that their actions had impacted over 40 countries worldwide.

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