Iran has denied claims made by the United States that it launched a drone strike against a chemical tanker off the Indian coast on Saturday, Reuters reported.

No casualties were reported on the ship named MV Chem Pluto. There were around 20 Indian crew on board the vessel. The vessel is Japanese-owned, Dutch-operated and sails under a Liberian flag.

The ship was attacked about 200 nautical miles southwest of Veraval, Gujarat.

The Indian Navy and Coast Guard had sent vessels, including the ICGS Vikram, which patrols India’s exclusive economic zone in the Indian Ocean, toward the merchant ship for assistance. MV Chem Pluto reached the Mumbai port on Monday.

On Friday, the White House alleged that Iran was “deeply involved” in the planning of the attacks by the Houthis on commercial ships travelling through the Red Sea and has supplied weapons, financial support and training to the Yemen-based military organisation, Bloomberg reported.

A day later, the Pentagon had alleged that the MV Chem Pluto was struck by “a one-way attack drone fired from Iran”.

Hossein Amirabdollahian, the foreign minister of Iran, said at a press conference in Tehran on Saturday that the United States’ “accusation is baseless” and that the spate of maritime attacks are “a completely Yemeni decision in support and defence of Gaza”.


Since November, the Houthis, who are backed by Iran, have claimed responsibility for several attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea. The attacks have increased navigation risks along the crucial international maritime route.

On Saturday, a Gabon-flagged oil tanker with 25 Indian crew was attacked by a drone in the Southern Red Sea on Saturday. No casualties were reported.

The oil tanker, named MV Sai Baba, was attacked by the Houthis, according to the United States’ Department of Defense. The Gabon-flagged tanker was attacked along with another Norwegian-flagged vessel. The tanker is reportedly managed by an Indian company and has an all-Indian crew.

This was the 15th such attack on a commercial ship by the Houthis since October 17, the United States military’s Central Command said in a social media post.