India’s navy said its commandos have secured a bulk carrier after its attempted hijack in the Arabian Sea.
The Liberian-flagged capesize Lila Norfolk was boarded on January 4 by six armed people while underway in waters some 460 nautical miles off Somalia.
The warship INS Chennai and a naval aircraft were deployed to assist the 170,000 dwt vessel and managed to establish contact with it on Friday morning.
The navy said Friday that 21 crew members, including 15 Indians, were rescued and that it had not found any pirates on board after they intercepted the vessel.
“The attempt of hijacking by the pirates was probably abandoned with the forceful warning by the Indian Navy, marine patrol aircraft, of interception by an Indian Naval warship,” the Indian Navy said in a statement.
The vessel, owned by the Dubai-based Lila Global was destined for Khalifa bin Salman in Bahrain.
“We want to thank the agencies that assisted in their rescue in particular the Indian Navy, Capt Rohit Bajpai, director IFC-IOR and the officials of DG Shipping. We also want to thank the professionalism of our crew who reacted safely and responsibly under the circumstances. We will provide more updates as more information becomes available to us,” said Steve Kunzer CEO of Lila Global.
Piracy was rampant off Somalia for four years from 2008 but then it went dormant for about five years. Recently, Somali pirates have been hijacking several vessels such as dhows and then targeting merchant ships passing by with a view to then demanding ransoms for kidnapped crews.