Govt to arm merchant ships to fight piracy: Vasan

The government is considering to equip the Indian merchant vessels with armed security guards to fight piracy, Union Shipping Minister said.

Last Updated: Jul 26, 2011, 13:26 PM IST

Panaji: With attacks from pirate on a rise, the Indian government is considering to equip the Indian merchant vessels with armed security guards to fight piracy, Union Shipping Minister said.

Union Minister for Shipping G K Vasan, in a written reply
to Goa Rajya Sabha member Shantaram Naik said that the
proposal to deploy armed security guards on the Indian
merchant ships is under consideration by the government.

Vasan said that the Union Government will shortly take a
view on this aspect, considering the criminal activities
affecting merchant navy ship operations.

The Goa MP had written to the Ministry that "world powers have to put in more efforts to thwart such criminal activities or else even the terrorists will resort to piracy as one of the methods of terrorising the world community."
The MP had written, "Ship owners should be authorised to
carry arms for self-defence and face the armed pirates, when
they climb the ships...It is appreciated that the Indian Navy
has been playing an important role in this regard and more
powers have to be given to the Navy to tackle the problem of
ship hijacking."

In a response to the letter, Vasan said that Indian Navy
was carrying out anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since
October 2008.

"A total number of 25 Indian Navy Ships have been
deployed in the Gulf of Aden since then and a total of 1,573
ships, including 1,402 foreign-flagged vessels from different
countries, have been escorted by Indian Navy ships in the Gulf
of Aden since October 2008," the minister added.
The minister has further informed Naik in the letter that
29 piracy attempts have been thwarted and no ship under Indian
escort has been hijacked by pirates.

"In recent naval operations, Indian Navy has neutralised
four mother ships and apprehended 120 pirates," Vasan said.

PTI