The fire aboard the Marshall Islands registered tanker Marlin Luanda caused by a Houthi missile strike is reported to be out and the vessel is proceeding to an unspecified safe harbor. Trafigura, who chartered the vessel, provided the update confirming that the crew of 23, including 22 Indians and one person from Bangladesh, is safe and dispelling multiple rumors circulating on the Internet.
“We would like to recognize the exceptional dedication and bravery of the ship’s master and crew who managed to control the fire in highly difficult circumstances, as well as the essential assistance provided by Indian, United States, and French Navy vessels to achieve this outcome,” the company wrote in its official statement.
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#IndianNavy‘s Guided missile destroyer, #INSVisakhapatnam, deployed in the #GulfofAden responded to a distress call from MV #MarlinLuanda on the night of #26Jan 24.
The fire fighting efforts onboard the distressed Merchant Vessel is being augmented by the NBCD team along with… pic.twitter.com/meocASF2Lo
— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) January 27, 2024
The Marlin Luanda, a 110,000 dwt product tanker, appears to have been targeted twice by the Houthi on Friday, January 26 with reports earlier in the day that the vessel saw an explosion closer to the crude oil tanker Achilles, a 109,000 dwt, registered in Panama. Both vessels were southbound with the UK Maritime Trade Organizations reporting their position at approximately 60 nautical miles south of Aden, Yemen in the Gulf of Aden.
The Marlin Luanda was hit by a single anti-ship missile according to USCENTCOM at approximately 2000 local time last night, January 26. Trafigura reports that there was a fire in one cargo tank on the starboard side, confirmed by the photos released by the Indian and French navies. The French frigate Alsace, the INS Visakhapatnam, and the USS Carney, all responded to a call for assistance from the tanker.
France released photos showing the fire shortly after the missile strike (French forces in the United Arab Emirates)
Pictures appear to show that the crew attempted to use foam to stop the fire and were successful in containing it to a limited area of the vessel. The fire appears not to have spread, however it took approximately 20 hours to put it out. Unconfirmed reports are that the vessel is carrying a highly flammable cargo of Naphtha loaded in Russia. The vessel was displaying Singapore as its destination.
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Trafigura reported that the company has no other vessels in the region and said it would “continue to assess carefully the risks involved in any voyage.” The Houthis’ in their statement boasting about the successful attack said it was because it was a British tanker. Databases list the vessel’s owner as Oceonix Services, headquartered in London.
Hours after the attack, U.S. Central Command reported that its forces had destroyed another Houthi missile on its launcher in Yemen. They reported that it was pointed at the Red Sea and prepared to launch when the U.S. struck.