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Indian Navy says crew of vessel attacked in Gulf of Aden is safe

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India's navy said on Thursday that it responded to a drone attack distress call from a Marshall Islands-flagged vessel in the Gulf of Aden and that the ship's crew were safe, with a fire on board under control.

The distress call from MV Genco Picardy was issued late on Wednesday and the navy diverted a warship deployed in the region to the rescue of 22 crew on board, including nine Indians, the Indian Navy said in a statement.

The incident is the latest in a series of attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea and nearby region, which have disrupted shipping on a key trade route, and Indian military authorities have responded to at least two such attacks and hijacking attempts previously.

"After a thorough inspection (navy commandos) have rendered the area safe for further transit. The vessel is proceeding to the next port of call," the statement said.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency on Wednesday said it had received a report of a vessel hit by an "uncrewed aerial system" about 60 nautical miles south east of Aden, Yemen.

(Reporting by Krishn Kaushik, Shivam Patel in New Delhi; Editing by YP Rajesh)