The prompt and effective response highlights the Indian Navy's preparedness and capability in handling maritime emergencies
In a swift response to a distress call, the Indian Navy's INS Visakhapatnam provided timely assistance to the Marshall Island-flagged merchant vessel MV Genco Picardy, which came under a drone attack in the Gulf of Aden. This was the latest in a series of attacks on shipping lines in the Red Sea and Arabian Sea regions amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict.
The Distress Call and Rescue Operation

According to information provided by the Indian Navy, in the middle of Wednesday (January 17, 2024) night, the US-owned MV Genco Picardy was struck by a drone believed to be from Yemen-based Houthis, resulting in a fire on board. The ship, with a 22-member crew including nine Indian nationals, was around 70 miles southeast of Aden at the time. INS Visakhapatnam, stationed in the region for anti-piracy operations, promptly heeded the distress call and reached the vessel by 12.30 am.
Efficient Naval Intervention

Upon their arrival, Indian Navy's Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) specialists from INS Visakhapatnam boarded the ship early on Thursday (January 18, 2024) morning for inspection and damage assessment. Their prompt and professional actions ensured the safety of both the crew and vessel, allowing for safe transit to the next port of call.
This rescue operation occurred against a backdrop of escalating activities by the Houthis, known for multiple attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea. The MV Genco Picardy incident fits this broader pattern of maritime threats in the region. Following such incidents, the Houthi group, supported by Iran, has been relisted as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist" organization by the US.
US Response and Military Actions

The United States has vehemently responded to these events, launching several missile strikes against Houthi-controlled areas in Yemen. The aim is to mitigate the rising attacks on commercial and military vessels in the pivotal Red Sea shipping lanes. Despite these efforts and sanctions, the Houthi rebels continue their offensive, posing significant risks to regional stability and global commerce.
The Indian Navy has been instrumental in safeguarding maritime routes in the region. Earlier this month, Indian Navy Marine Commandos successfully rescued 21 crew members of the Liberian-flagged MV Lila Norfolk in the North Arabian Sea, reaffirming the Navy's commitment to maritime security and the protection of international shipping lanes from piracy and terrorist threats.
As tensions in West Asia heighten, the international community remains vigilant to the potential disruptions in maritime trade. The MV Genco Picardy incident is a stark reminder of the precarious security situation in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, necessitating ongoing vigilance and collaboration among regional naval forces.
The prompt and effective response of INS Visakhapatnam to this crisis highlights the Indian Navy's preparedness and capability in handling maritime emergencies. With ongoing regional tensions, the role of naval forces like the Indian Navy becomes increasingly vital in maintaining the safety and security of international waters.