The vessel was attacked by the Houthis on the night of January 26. The distress call from MV Marlin Luanda came on the night of January 26

The Indian Navy on Saturday said that it has deployed its guided missile destroyer – INS Visakhapatnam – in the Gulf of Aden in response to a distress call from MV Marlin Luanda on the night of January 26.

The British oil tanker Marlin Luanda has 22 Indian and one Bangladeshi crew members onboard.

“The fire-fighting efforts onboard the distressed Merchant Vessel is being augmented by the NBCD team along with firefighting equipment, deployed by INS Visakhapatnam to assist the crew onboard the MV. The MV has 22 #Indian & 01 Bangladeshi crew onboard,” the Indian Navy wrote on X, previously Twitter.

It added that the Indian Navy remains steadfast and committed to safeguarding Merchant Vessels and ensuring the safety of life at sea.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack. According to The Guardian, they have claimed that their naval forces carried out an operation targeting what they described as the “British oil tanker Marlin Luanda” in the Gulf of Aden.

Houthi military spokesperson Yahya Sarea in a statement said that the group used “appropriate naval missiles" and that the "strike was direct”.

The United States has also confirmed the Houthis strike on MV Marlin Luanda.

“On January 26, at approximately 7:45 pm (Sanaa time), Iranian-backed Houthi terrorists fired one anti-ship ballistic missile from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and struck the Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker M/V Marlin Luanda,” the US Central Command (CENTCOM) wrote 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. No injuries have been reported at this time.”

The incident is the latest in a series of drone and pirate attacks on merchant vessels in the region, including the Red Sea and parts of the Arabian Sea.

The Indian navy has stepped up surveillance in the troubled region substantially and deployed task groups consisting of around 10 warships in the face of the recent attacks on India-bound merchant vessels.

Houthi militia has been targeting commercial shipping in the Red Sea with missiles and drones after the Israel-Hamas conflict began on October 7. The Iran-backed Houthi rebels declared their support for Hamas. Several shipping companies have suspended their operations in the Red Sea following the attacks, which have forced mariners to change course and take longer routes around the southern tip of Africa.