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Israel-Affiliated Tanker Targeted by Drone in Arabian Sea, Escalating Maritime Security Risks

An Israel-linked tanker, MV Chem Pluto, was attacked by a drone in the Arabian Sea, near India, with no casualties but raising maritime security concerns.

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Shivani Chauhan
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Israel-Affiliated Tanker Targeted by Drone in Arabian Sea, Escalating Maritime Security Risks

An Israel-affiliated merchant vessel was targeted by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in the Arabian Sea, approximately 200 kilometers southwest of Veraval, India, marking a concerning escalation in regional maritime security threats. The attack on the Liberian-flagged chemical products tanker, MV Chem Pluto, resulted in a fire that was successfully extinguished with no reported crew casualties. This incident serves as a stark reminder of the persistent dangers posed by unmanned aerial threats in strategic waterways.

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Strategic Implications of the Attack

The location of the strike, near the Ad Dimaniyat Islands close to Muscat, Oman, underscores the vulnerability of important maritime routes to UAV assaults. The islands, known for their ecological significance, now find themselves adjacent to an emerging frontline of maritime conflict. The attack on MV Chem Pluto is a sign of expanding hostilities impacting maritime traffic, notably with Iran-backed Houthi forces intensifying their campaign against commercial shipping in the Red Sea.

Regional Maritime Security Concerns

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Iranian kamikaze drones, boasting a range of over 1,000 kilometers, have become a weapon of choice in these confrontations. With Iranian Revolutionary Guards commanders issuing threats to close the Mediterranean Sea in response to perceived 'crimes' in Gaza, the international community watches with bated breath. Following a directive from Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, the Houthi forces have escalated their use of suicide drones and missiles targeting Israeli-affiliated commerce in the region.

International Response and Shipping Adjustments

In reaction to these threats, the United States spearheaded the formation of a naval coalition involving 20 countries to safeguard vessels from UAV attacks in the Red Sea. The role of this coalition, whether defensive or potentially engaging in retaliatory measures, remains to be fully clarified. In the wake of such attacks, major global shipping firms have altered their routes to avoid the increasingly perilous Red Sea, since the conflict between Israel and Hamas intensified on October 7. This latest drone strike on MV Chem Pluto, while causing no injuries, inflicted structural damage and prompted a response from the Indian Navy, which dispatched an aircraft and a warship to provide assistance.

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