Indian Navy foils pirate attacks on Indian, Saudi ships

Indian Navy foils pirate attacks on Indian, Saudi ships

New Delhi: In the first operation in the Gulf of Aden since its deployment three weeks back, Indian Navy on Tuesday foiled an attempt by heavily-armed pirates to capture two merchant vessels, including an Indian flag carrier, off the notorious Somalia coast.

In a swift action, warship INS Tabar intervened to thwart two near-simultaneous attacks by pirates on an Indian cargo vessel MV Jag Arnav and a Saudi flag carrier MV NCC Thihama within 25 nautical miles of each other.

The Indian warship, which was deployed in the region on 23 October in the wake of rising attacks by pirates on merchant vessels, received an SOS from the Saudi ship at around 1000 hours after a group of pirates surrounded it.

Marine commandos on board INS Tabar flew out in an armed helicopter and launched an assault on the attackers, who were in five speed boats, forcing them to flee into the Somali waters.

Even as this operation was on, the warship received a panic call from MV Jag Arnav, a merchant vessel owned by Mumbai-based Great Eastern Shipping Company, with about 20 crew members on board.

Arnav, a 38,265-tonne bulk carrier, was also ambushed by heavily-armed pirates in speed boats soon after it crossed Suez Canal and was eastward bound, the Indian Navy said.

The pirates were firing at the vessel and making an attempt to board it.