The Indian Navy and the Coast Guard have had their second major success against Somali pirates within days. In the early hours of February 6, 28 pirates were forced to surrender about 100 nautical miles off Kavaratti in the Lakshadweep Islands, 200 to 300 km off the coast of the southwest Indian state of Kerala.They are now headed for Mumbai, where they will be handed over to the police. The hijacked fishing vessel that had been in use as a mother ship is in tow.
The incident started when the merchant vessel MV Chios, en route to Singapore from Yemen, was pursued by high-speed skiffs about 100 nautical miles off Kavaratti island on Saturday evening. The vessel managed to elude the attackers and informed the Western Naval Command and the Maritime Rescue and Coordination Center (MRCC) of the attack.
INS Tir of Southern Naval Command (SNC), deployed off Kavaratti was despatched to the area.
A Dornier aircraft launched by Southern Naval Command which located the skiffs and their mother vessel at about 8 PM on February
INS Tir reached the area and continued tracking the skiffs and their Mother vessel till first light on Feb 6. Coast Guard vessel CGS Samar joined the operations in the morning
On being ordered to stop and prepare to be boarded, the pirates aboard the skiffs opened fire. After identifying the mother vessel as the hijacked trawler Prantalay 11, the Navy and Coast Guard contacted it by radio ordered it to stop. However, the Pirates fired yet again, upon which the Navy and Coast Guard ships fired warning rounds.
The pirates hoisted a White flag. A mix of pirates and crew-members who were being held hostage aboard the trawler were apprehended by INS Tir and CGS Samar and transferred to CGS Samar.
The Coast Guard ship is now headed to Mumbai with 28 Pirates and 24 Thai fishermen and with Prantalay-11 under tow.
The Pirates and hostages will be will be handed-over to the Police in Mumbai.
The incident follows an operation on January 28 In which the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard intercepted another hijacked fishing trawler in the Prantalay series after it had launched two skiffs in an attack on the containership MV CMA CGM Verdi. In that incident, the pirate mothership ignored a warning shot and opened fire on the Indian Naval Ship Cankarso a recently commissioned water jet fast attack craft. INS Cankarso returned limited fire in self defense. A fire broke out on Prantalay and personnel were seen jumping overboard. INS Cankarso recovered 20 fishermen who had been held hostage and also recovered 15 pirates.
February 7, 2011