India captures another pirate ship, 52 arrested

Last Updated: Sunday, February 6, 2011 - 16:21

Mumbai: In the second major anti-piracy
operation off Lakshadweep in 10 days, the Indian Navy and the
Coast Guard Sunday apprehended 52 men including 28 suspected
Somali pirates on board a ship after a brief gun-battle near
the islands.

The forces foiled a pirate plan to attack a
Greek-flagged merchant ship and apprehended Prantalay-11, the
sister vessel of fishing trawler Prantalay-14 that was also
being used as the mother ship by the sea brigands and was sunk
by the Navy in the Arabian Sea earlier.

"Naval ship INS Tir and Coast Guard ship ICGS Samar
intercepted the pirates` mother ship Prantalay-11 within
Indian waters after a gun-battle and forced the brigands to
surrender. A total of 52 men have been apprehended of which 28
are suspected to be Somali pirates," Navy spokesperson Captain
M Nambiar said.

Officials said the operation had started last evening
when the Navy learnt that MV Chios was being attacked by two
pirate skiffs some 100 kms off the Kavaratti island.

After receiving the input, Navy`s Western Command here
directed the INS Tir and the ICGS Samar, who are already
deployed in the region for anti-piracy operations, to rush to
the site and apprehend the pirates and their mother ship, they
said.

"After locating the skiffs, the two ships asked the
pirates to surrender but they fired back at us and fled to
their mother ship. After the two ships tracked the mother
vessel, they were fired upon again by the pirates," they said.

"The Tir and the Samar returned fire briefly after
which the pirates raised white flags to surrender," they said.

The pirates and the crew of the Prantalay 11 have now
been brought to Mumbai for interrogation by police and
intelligence agencies.

The agencies will also probe if the apprehended
pirates have any links with Pakistan-based terror groups such
as Lashkar-e-Taiba.

The pirate ship apprehended today is part of the
Prantalay family of ships which are distinguished from one
another by their suffix numbers. Several of these trawlers are
known to have been hijacked by pirates off the coast of
Somalia, between four and six months ago.

After the recent spurt in piracy incidents, Indian
Navy and the Coast Guard have maintained increased presence in
the Central Arabian Sea to nab Somali pirates who have started
moving towards the country.

India has been deploying its frigates and destroyers
in the Gulf of Aden as part of anti-piracy efforts since
November 2008.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, February 6, 2011 - 16:21

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