DOD Confirms Iran Launched Attack Drone

A Pentagon official confirmed that a chemical tanker in the Indian Ocean was hit by an Iranian attack drone on December 23, marking the seventh attack by Iran on commercial shipping since 2021, CNN reported.

In a December 23 statement, the Pentagon confirmed that the Japanese-owned chemical tanker CHEM PLUTO was hit at around 10:00 a.m. local time, 200 nautical miles off the coast of India, “by a one-way attack drone fired from Iran.” While the drone caused a fire on the tanker, no injuries were reported and the fire was quickly extinguished, the Pentagon said.

According to India’s coast guard, the CHEM PLUTO had a 21-man crew at the time of the attack. The coast guard confirmed that none of the crew was reported injured.

After communicating with the vessel, the Indian coast guard dispatched a patrol boat and a maritime surveillance aircraft. The vessel’s crew conducted a damage assessment and made repairs to the power generation systems before continuing toward Mumbai under escort by the coast guard patrol vessel.

The Iranian strike in the Indian Ocean comes as the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen have been launching over 100 against against commercial vessels in the Red Sea over the last month.

US Navy helicopters over the weekend destroyed three small Houthi boats in the Red Sea after Navy ships responded to a distress call from the Maersk container ship the Hangzhou which was under attack by four small boats.

According to a statement from US Central Command, at about 6:30 a.m. local time on December 31, four small boats from the Houthi-controlled region of Yemen “fired crew-served and small-arms weapons” at the vessel, sailing within 20 meters from the Hangzhou and attempting to board.

Helicopters deployed from the USS Gravely and USS Eisenhower responded. As the helicopters were issuing verbal commands to the small boats, the Houthis aboard opened fire on the helicopters. The helicopters returned fire, sinking three of the boats and killing the men aboard.