India’s Navy post on Twitter said swift response enabled its commandos to rescue all
crew members from the Liberian-flagged merchant vessel, MV LILA NORFOLK after its
attempted hijack in the North Arabian Sea. It had not found any pirates on board.
All Crew Members Rescued
The post said on Friday that all 21 crew members, including 15 Indians, were rescued
after they intercepted the vessel.
The Indian Navy said its MARCOS (marine commando forces) carried out “sanitisation”
operations on the ship and confirmed the absence of a single hijacker. This action
was abled less than a day after they received a hijacking distress call from its location
off Somalia’s coast in the North Arabian Sea. The official Indian Navy’s handle on
Twitter said,” The attempt of hijacking by the pirates was probably abandoned with the
forceful warning by the Indian Navy MPA of interception by Indian Naval Warship.”
The ship had sent a message to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations
portal, saying five to six unknown armed personnel had boarded on Thursday evening
the statement said.
The vessel was destined for Khalifa bin Salman in Bahrain, according to British
maritime security firm Ambrey. It was not immediately clear what it was carrying.
Indigenously built warship INS Chennai was diverted swiftly and deployed to assist the
vessel, the navy while a naval aircraft overflew the hijacked vessel on Friday and had
established contact with it.
Increased Attacks On Vessels, Indian Navy Says It Is Committed To
Notably, this is in continuance with the increased hijacking incidents in the region.
Last month, the Malta-flagged tanker MV RUEN was hijacked by Somali pirates
roughly 700 miles (1100 km) from the Indian coast. It had 18 crew members on
board. Indian Navy evacuated an injured sailor from the vessel last December.
There have been attacks on merchant ships by Houthi rebels in Yemen in the Red
Sea as well as the Arabian Sea. In a few instances, Indian-crewed vessels MV
CHEM PLUTO and MV SAI BABA were targeted recently.
Indian Navy has increased its surveillance in response to the spate of attacks on ships
in the region and said it, “Remains committed to ensuring [the] safety of merchant
shipping in the region along with international partners and friendly foreign countries”.