The Indian Navy has prevented a piracy attempt on a Liberian vessel in the Gulf of Aden, in a swift operation involving marine commandos and an armed chopper.
The Navy’s warship INS Sharda, deployed in the Gulf of Aden for an anti-piracy mission, swung into action after it received a distress call from MV Lord Mountbatten around 4:45 PM yesterday.
After reaching out to the vessel, the Navy’s ‘Marcos’ commandos with support from the helicopter onboard the ship, carried out a ‘board and search’ operation on two dhows and five skiffs which had shown “malicious intent”.
Three skiffs fled the area at high speeds on sighting the Indian warship.
“The ship received a distress call from MV Lord Mountbatten, in position 230 nm South-West in the Gulf of Aden.
“The vessel had reported an incident of attempted piracy by two suspicious mother vessels along with 7-8 skiffs. Sharda, which was at that time 30 Nm East of the reported position, immediately responded to the distress call and proceeded at best speed to investigate the incident,” Navy Spokesperson Capt DK Sharma said.
One automatic Kalashnikov rifle and 28 rounds of magazines were also recovered from one of the dhows, he said.
Indian Naval assets have been increasingly deployed in recent times to address the various maritime concerns of the region, including piracy off the coast of Somalia.
Sharma said the Indian Navy had started deploying its ships in the Gulf of Aden since October 2008 and has been maintaining 24x7 presence in piracy-infested areas since then.
He said Tuesday’s operation was 41st such intervention by the Navy in the last eight-and-a-half years in the region during which the force had escorted 3,749 ships and apprehended 120 pirates.
The Navy had also rescued 74 fishermen during the period while INS Sharda is the 63rd Indian Navy ship to be part of the anti-piracy operation in the Gulf of Aden.
The navies of India and China last month had rescued a merchant ship in the Gulf of Aden after it was hijacked by Somali pirates.
Two frontline warships of the Indian Navy—INS Mumbai and INS Tarkash—were part of the operation while the Chinese Navy had deployed missile frigate, Yulin.
However, China had not acknowledged the participation of the Indian Navy in the operation.