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Oil Tanker Marlin Luanda Attacked in Gulf of Aden

Source: Indian Navy

An oil tanker, the Marlin Luanda, was struck by a missile on Friday, January 26, igniting a fire that prompted worries about the security of commercial ships in the crucial maritime channel. 

The attack took place about 60 nautical miles off the coast of Yemen, and the perpetrators were identified as the Houthis, an armed organisation from Yemen. The incident presented a serious environmental risk and may have resulted in a massive oil spill in the area.

The Iran-backed Houthis said it targeted Marlin Luanda in response to “American-British aggression.” 

The UK and the USA have responded to these attacks on the ships in the Red Sea region by launching air strikes on Houthi targets.

“We are aware of reports that the M/V Marlin Luanda, a Marshall Islands-flagged tanker, has sustained damage from an attack in the Gulf of Aden. Current reports suggest no casualties, and nearby coalition vessels are on the scene,” explained a spokesperson [JW1] on behalf of the British government.

“We have been clear that any attacks on commercial shipping are completely unacceptable, and that the UK and our allies reserve the right to respond appropriately.”

“The missile was successfully shot down by USS Carney. There were no injuries or damage,” reported U.S. Central Command commented in a post on X.

“The ship issued a distress call and reported damage. USS Carney (DDG 64) and other coalition ships have responded and are rendering assistance” it said. Assistance was provided to the vessel by Indian, French, and US naval ships. 

A post by the Indian Navy on X said[JW2]  the Indian Navy’s guided missile destroyer, INS Vishakhapatnam, deployed in the Gulf of Aden, responded to a distress call from MV Marlin Luanda on the night of January 26, 2024.

The owner of the ship is Trafigura, a trading firm with offices in London, while the operator of the vessel is Oceanix Services, a UK-registered company. Trafigura provided an update on Saturday, saying all crew members of the ship were safe and the fire in a cargo tank had been put out. “The vessel is now sailing towards a safe harbor," said the company.

They added, “We would like to recognise the exceptional dedication and bravery of the ship’s master and crew who managed to control the fire in highly difficult circumstances, as well as the essential assistance provided by Indian, United States, and French Navy vessels to achieve this outcome.”

The Houthis have frequently targeted commercial vessels travelling through the Red Sea and have launched numerous attacks on them since November 2023. The attack on the Marlin Luanda draws attention to the continued security issues in the Gulf of Aden and prompts concerns about the security of commercial ships operating there.


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