Drone strike hits Mangalore-bound merchant ship off Gujarat coast

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Drone strike hits Mangalore-bound merchant ship off Gujarat coast Blog Image

What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in news?
  • What is Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR)?
  • News Summary: Drone strike hits Mangalore-bound merchant ship off Gujarat coast
  • No one has claimed the responsibility of the attack
  • Response from India

Why in news?

  • As per two maritime agencies, a drone strike damaged a merchant ship off India on December 23 but caused no casualties.
    • Both agencies said the attack occurred 200 nautical miles southwest of Veraval, Gujarat.
  • Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre for Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) is coordinating the communication between the Navy and shipping company.

Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR)

  • About
    • In December 2018, Indian launched the IFC-IOR, at Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) Gurugram.
    • It was established for regional collaboration on maritime security issues such as:
      • Maritime terrorism, illegal unregulated and unreported fishing (IUUF), piracy, armed robbery on the high seas, and human and contraband trafficking.
    • The IFC-IOR aims to engage with partner nations and multi-national maritime constructs.
    • The idea is to develop comprehensive maritime domain awareness and share information on vessels of interest (i.e., information on white shipping).
      • White shipping information refers to exchange of advance information on the identity and movement of commercial non-military merchant vessels.
  • Significance
    • Maritime security is a paramount concern
      • More than 75% of the world’s maritime trade and 50% of global oil consumption passes through the IOR.
    • IUUF growing into a bigger threat to maritime states than international piracy.
      • This is because they deplete stocks and deprive vulnerable regional economies of an important food source.
      • IUU fishing also tramples sovereign rights, undermines the rule of law, and robs coastal states of a valuable economic resource
    • Need for collaborative effort
      • The scale, scope and the multi-national nature of maritime activities, make it difficult for countries to address these challenges individually.
      • Hence, collaborative efforts between maritime nations in the IOR, is essential.
    • Part of India’s SAGAR (Security and Growth For All in the Region) initiative
      • The centre was established as part of the government’s SAGAR framework for maritime co-operation in the Indian Ocean region.
      • It hosts international liaison officers from partner countries. This includes both:
        • India’s immediate neighbours in the Indian Ocean region and
        • from further afield, including Australia, France, Japan, Singapore, the UK and the US.

News Summary: Drone strike hits Mangalore-bound merchant ship off Gujarat coast

  • The vessel called MV Chem Pluto had crude oil and was going towards Mangalore from a port in Saudi Arabia.

No one has claimed the responsibility of the attack

  • There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the strike, which came amid a flurry of drone and missile attacks by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels on a vital shipping lane in the Red Sea.
    • The Houthi rebels have launched more than 100 drone and missile attacks, targeting 10 merchant vessels involving more than 35 different countries, according to the Pentagon.
  • The attacks on shipping since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7 have prompted major firms to reroute their cargo vessels.
    • Now they have been forced to go around the southern tip of Africa, despite the higher fuel costs of much longer voyages.

Response from India

  • The Indian Navy had dispatched a maritime patrol aircraft which arrived overhead the merchant vessel. Safety of the crew and ship was ascertained.
  • A warship has also been dispatched to provide any assistance as required.
  • IFC-IOR is coordinating the communication between the Navy and shipping company.

Q1) What is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)?

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone, is an aircraft without any human pilot, crew, or passengers on board.

Q2) What is Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC)?

The Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) is the Indian Navy's primary center for coastal monitoring and surveillance. It's also the nodal center for the National Command Control Communications and Intelligence Network (NC3I Network).


Source: Drone strike hits Mangalore-bound merchant ship off Gujarat coast: maritime agencies | Indian Navy | Indian Express