Indian Navy, Coast Guard foil another piracy attempt

Sunday, February 6, 2011

MUMBAI - Within ten days, the Indian Navy and Coast Guard notched yet another success when it captured a pirate ship attempting to create maritime terror near the Minicoy Islands, off the southwest coast of India, officials said here Sunday.

The incident occurred on the in the early hours Sunday when a Greek-flagged merchant ship, MV. Chios was under a concerted attack by pirates in high-speed skiffs, around 100 nautical miles off the Kavaratti Island.

By evasive manoeuvring and speed increases, MV Chios managed to evade the piracy attempt even as the Indian Navy and Coast Guard joint teams swung into action in the area.

INS Tir and ICGS Samar, which were in the vicinity on anti-piracy duties, were pressed into a search and interception of the pirate vessels and its mother-vessel.

They succeeded in locating the two skiffs and ordered them to stop.

Instead of complying with the orders, they opened fire at both the INS Tir and ICGS Samar before speeding off.

The two Indian ships managed to track the two skiffs which led them to the mother vessel, Prantalaya-II, a Thai vessel.

This was one of the series of trawlers which have been hijacked off Somalia coast in the past six months, all bearing the generic name of Prantalaya, but distinguishable from the suffix numbers.

When the Indian ships contacted Prantalaya-II on radio, it retaliated by opening fire at the vessels, which the Indian ships returned.

After the brief but decisive gunfire, the pirates apparently discarded a protracted confrontation and raised a white flag of surrender.

The Indian rescue teams boarded the Prantalay-II and took charge of a mix of 52 pirates and crew members being held hostage on the trawler.

The Prantalay-II has also been captured and towed by ICGS Samar.

It is en route to Mumbai and expected to reach here in a day or so where the pirates shall be handed over to the Mumbai police for further action.

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