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.
Between 24th and 29th Nov 10 a sudden spurt of piracy attempts were reported in the Eastern Part of Arabian Sea at distances of 350-700 nautical miles from the West Coast of India. Reports were also received about MT Polar, a Panama Flagged Tanker hijacked on 30 Oct 10, 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 sanitization of the area. The Indian Naval Force consists of ships, armed helicopters, MARCOS team and Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
The efforts of Indian Navy yielded immediate results as MT Polar has cleared the area in Eastern Arabian Sea on 30 Nov 10 and was heading back towards Somalia at best speed. Even as the movement of MT Polar is being monitored, Indian Naval Ships are combing the area for other possible mother vessels/skiffs.
It is appreciated that the threat of piracy in the area which has witnessed recent attacks has considerably decreased due to this development. The Indian Navy and Director General Shipping of India are continuing to monitor the situation and issue advisories for all ships regarding piracy prone areas and implement Best Management Practices in these areas. Protection of the Sea Lanes of Communication remains a priority of the Govt of India and the Indian Navy.
It maybe recalled that in response to increasing incidents of piracy in the Gulf of Aden, the Indian Navy commenced anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden in Oct 2008. Since then the Indian Navy has continuosly maintained one ship on patrol in the region with 23 IN Ships having been deputed for this tour of duty. These IN ships have ensured safe passage of 1415 merchantmen, of various nationalities, across the pirate infested waters in the Gulf of Aden. Not a single ship under escort of the Indian Navy has been hijacked to date.
IN ships have so far successfully thwarted 23 piracy attempts. The most recent being INS Delhi disrupting 04 Piracy attempts in the Gulf of Aden in Sep 10 and INS Rajput disrupting 03 Piracy attempts in the Gulf of Aden in Oct 10 . The Indian Navy also provided assistance to sanitise MV BBC Orinoco which came under pirate attack about 450 nm West of Mumbai in 11 Nov 10.