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Indian Coast Guard averts disaster–rescues container ship bound for Singapore

The commercial liner MSC Messina which caught fire and was rescued by the Indian Coast Guard (Pictures Courtesy Twitter/@IndiaCoastGuard)

The Indian Coast Guard on Friday swung into action to rescue a Liberia flagged commercial ship, which had caught fire, half-way between Sri Lanka and the Malacca strait—a major artery of global trade in the Indo-Pacific region.

The commercial liner MSC Messina, was to cross the Malacca strait before heading to Singapore.

Also Read: India helps Sri Lanka douse fire on cargo ship off Colombo

"Container ship MSC Messina with 28 crew about 425 nautical miles from Port Blair reported fire in engine room AM 25 June and one crew missing. Vessel en route from Colombo to Singapore. Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) Port Blair coordinating assistance through MSC Deila in vicinity. ICG ship and aircraft being deployed," tweeted the Indian Coast Guard.

The container ship reported a fire in the engine room at around 19:30 UTC June 24, Maritime Bulletin reported.

The ship was disabled, and as of 04:15 UTC June 25 remained disabled, adrift, reported Colombo Page.

Analysts say that the rescue by Coast Guard highlights the importance pf the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in ensuring the smooth flow of commercial shipping in the Indo-pacific region, on either side of the Malacca straits. Most of the commercial shipping passes through the 10-degree channel which separated the Andaman group of islands from the Nicobar. The 6-degree channel south of the great Nicobar Island is another major artery through which international ships pass before heading through the Malacca channel into the South China Sea via Indonesia.

The Indian Coast Guard was also recently involved in the rescue of a commercial ship in the Colombo harbour which had caught fire.

Also Read: India helps Sri Lanka douse fire on cargo ship off Colombo

The India Navy is also focusing on Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) having deployed a special vessel to rescue stricken submariners from Indonesia in April.