Indian Navy proactively deploying fleet to keep pirates at bay: Navy chief

World Thursday 11/January/2024 08:25 AM
Indian Navy proactively deploying fleet to keep pirates at bay: Navy chief

Hyderabad: Amid the recent spate of attacks on Indian merchant ships in the Arabian Sea, the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral R Hari Kumar, on Wednesday said the Indian Navy was proactively deploying its fleet to keep pirates at bay.

Addressing media persons after unveiling the first indigenously manufactured Drishti 10 Starliner Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) in Hyderabad on Wednesday, the Navy chief said, "Over the past 42 days, as many as 35 such attacks (approximately) have taken place, primarily targeting Israeli-owned vessels. However, no India-flagged vessel has been attacked so far."

"We are now, very proactively, deploying our units there to ensure that the pirates at kept at bay. If you look at the last 40-42 days, about 35 such attacks have taken place, largely on Israeli-owned shipping assets. No India-flagged vessel has been attacked so far," the chief of the Naval Staff said.

The Navy chief added that there have only been two incidents, so far, which prompted the marine warriors to conduct anti-piracy operations.

"Both incidents involved non-Indian-flagged vessels. In the second incident, an Indian crew was aboard the vessel, prompting the Navy to respond," he added.

"Anti-piracy operations were conducted in the wake of only two such incidents. In both cases, the vessels were not India-flagged. However, in the second incident, there were Indian crew members on board the ship because of which we had to respond. We got the necessary consent from the owners of the vessel and rescued the distressed crew," the chief of Naval Staff said.

"We have not yet been able to identify from where all these attacks are being directed. We have collected debris of drones collected from three ships and are analysing it," the Navy chief said.

Recently, the Indian Navy's marine commandos rescued 21 crew members, including 15 Indians, from the hijacked Liberian-flagged vessel MV Lila Norfolk on January 6, 2024.

The crew members were rescued in a swift operation in the North Arabian Sea after armed pirates attempted to hijack the vessel.

In a statement posted on X, the Indian Navy on Friday stated, "Indian Navy's Swift Response to the Hijacking Attempt of MV Lila Norfolk in the North Arabian Sea. All 21 crew members (including 15 Indians) onboard were safely evacuated from the citadel. Sanitisation by MARCOs has confirmed the absence of the hijackers."

The attempt at hijacking by the pirates was probably abandoned with the forceful warning by the Indian Navy, MPA of interception by an Indian Naval warship, the statement read.