Naval force against piracy deployed in Arabian Sea

Navy deployed a multi-ship force in Arabian Sea to ward off the sea brigands.

Updated: Nov 30, 2010, 21:06 PM IST

New Delhi: With Arabian Sea witnessing a
spurt in piracy and a merchant vessel coming under attack off
the Mumbai coast earlier this month, the Navy on Tuesday deployed a multi-ship force in the area to ward off the sea brigands.

"A multi-ship force of the Indian Navy has been tasked to
undertake a comprehensive search in the eastern parts of the
Arabian Sea to locate and disable probable pirate (mother)
vessels and skiffs," a Navy spokesperson said here today.

The action comes in the backdrop of the Navy providing
assistance to sanitise MV BBC Orinoco, which came under pirate attack about 450 nautical miles west of Mumbai in November 11
this year.

It was also decided to deploy the warships in anti-piracy
patrol due to a sudden spurt in piracy attempts between
November 24 and 29 in the eastern part of Arabian Sea about
350 to 700 nautical miles from India`s west coast, the
spokesperson said.

The Navy, he said, had also received reports about
Merchant Tanker Polar, a Panama-flagged vessel, hijacked on
October 30 this year, being in the area and acting as a
possible mother ship.

"In a swift step of affirmative action, the Indian Navy
despatched its force to the area to search and locate pirate
mother vessels/dhows/skiffs and carry out a thorough
anti-piracy sanitisation of the area," he added.

The Indian naval force consists of ships, armed
helicopters, marine commandos team and maritime patrol
aircraft, the spokesperson said.

"The efforts of Indian Navy yielded immediate results as
MT Polar has cleared the area in eastern Arabian Sea on
November 30 and was heading back towards Somalia.

"Even as the movement of MT Polar is being monitored,
Indian naval ships are combing the area for other possible
mother vessels/skiffs," he said.

"The threat of piracy in the area, which had witnessed
stepped-up piracy in recent times, has considerably decreased
due to this development," he added.

The Navy and Director General Shipping are continuing to
monitor the situation and issue advisories for all ships
regarding piracy-prone areas.

"Protection of the Sea Lanes of Communication remains a
priority of the Indian government and the Navy," he noted.

In response to increasing incidents of piracy in the Gulf
of Aden, the Navy had commenced anti-piracy patrol in the
region in October 2008.

Since then, the Navy has continuously maintained a
warship on patrol in the Gulf of Aden with 23 ships having
been deputed for anti-piracy operations there.

These warships have ensured safe passage of 1,415
merchantmen, of various nationalities across the piracy-hit
waters in the Gulf of Aden.

Not a single ship under the escort of the Indian Navy has
been hijacked to date.

The warships have so far successfully thwarted 23 piracy
attempts, the most recent being INS Delhi warding off four
piracy attempts in the Gulf of Aden in September this year and
INS Rajput stopping three attempts in October.

PTI