Off the coast of India, a drone attacked an oil tanker. The Liberian-flagged tanker, known as MV Chem Pluto, has a potential connection to Israeli interests. The assault resulted in a fire and caused substantial damage, disrupting the tanker's operation. At the time of the incident, the vessel was en route from Jubail, Saudi Arabia to Mangalore, India.
Iran’s Involvement with the Houthi Rebels
Iran is assumed to have a significant influence over the Houthi rebels. The United States holds Iran accountable for supplying the rebels with sophisticated military equipment. Furthermore, there is suspicion that Tehran permits the Yemeni rebels to select their targets.
Iran’s Threat to Mediterranean
In response to the ongoing Israeli offensive against Hamas in Gaza, Iran has issued a threat to obstruct the Mediterranean. These remarks were made by an official from Iran's Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad Reza Naqdi.
Indian Coast Guard’s Reaction
The Indian coast guard quickly responded by dispatching a Dornier Do-228 maritime patrol aircraft to establish communication with the distressed ship. The patrol vessel IGCS Vikram, outfitted with a HAL Dhruv helicopter, is set to join the MV Chem Pluto shortly.
Despite the Houthis' presumed involvement, their participation in the attack seems improbable due to the substantial distance between Yemen and the attack location. The nature of the attack appears to be more in line with the capabilities of Iranian forces.
This is not the first instance of commercial vessels being targeted in the region. Since November 24, this is the second vessel to be attacked. The prior attack was on the CMA CGM Symi, a container ship registered in Malta and owned by a company managed by an Israeli businessman.