November 19, 2008
Indian warship takes out pirate mother ship
The Indian Navy Talwar-class frigate INS Tabar has "completely destroyed" a Somali pirate mother ship.
The frigate, which is currently in the Gulf of Aden for Anti-Piracy Surveillance and Patrol Operations, encountered a pirate vessel, 285 nm South West of Salalah (Oman) on the evening of November 18 with two speed boats in tow.
This vessel was similar in description to a "mother vessel' mentioned in various piracy bulletins.
INS Tabar closed the vessel and asked it to stop for investigation.
"On repeated calls," says a statement from India's Ministry of Defense," the vessel's threatening response was that she would blow up the naval warship if it closed her. Pirates were seen roaming on the upper deck of this vessel with guns and rocket propelled grenade launchers. The vessel continued its threatening calls and subsequently fired upon INS Tabar.
On being fired upon, INS Tabar retaliated in self defense and opened fire on the mother vessel.
According to one Indian media report, INS Tabar, which is also equipped with the Israeli Barak missiles, opened up with its medium machine gun, a closing-in weapon capable of firing 4,500-5,000 rounds per minute.
As a result of the firing by INS Tabar, fire broke out on the vessel and explosions were heard, possibly due to exploding ammunition that was stored on the vessel. Almost simultaneously, two speed boats were observed breaking off to escape. The ship chased the first boat which was later found abandoned. The other boat made good its escape into darkness.
An Indian media report quotes a senior navy source as saying that the warship used heavy guns to "completely destroy" the pirate vessel.
"From what we see in photographs the pirate vessel is completely destroyed," the officer said.
Since deployment, INS Tabar has successfully escorted 35 ships, including a number of foreign-flagged vessels, through the Gulf of Aden, and on November 11 foiled two near simultaneous hijack attempts, one on an Indian ship and the other on a Saudi vessel.