New Delhi: In the first-ever action of its kind the Indian Navy beat off an attempt by pirates to board and hijack an Indian merchant ship, a bulk carrier, belonging to Great Eastern Shipping Company. INS Tabar was recently deployed in the Gulf of Aden, after another merchant ship, belonging to the Stolt company was hijacked by Somali pirates and a large contingent of Indian crew were held to ransom.
The 38,265-tonne Great Eastern bulk carrier, MV Jag Arnav, had only recently crossed the Suez Canal and was eastward bound when it was surrounded by pirates, who tried to board and hijack the ship, Navy sources here said. With the ship raising alarm, INS Tabar, which was patrolling in the vicinity, swung into action and dispatched a helicopter load of naval commandos towards the bulk carrier.
Though full details are not yet available the armed helicopter intervened and successfully repulsed the pirates. "An armed helicopter with marine commandos was launched from the naval warship to intervene and prevent the pirates from boarding and hijacking the merchant vessel. This timely and successful intervention led to the pirates aborting their attempt," sources said.
The attack took place around 10.30 hours about 60 nautical miles of Aden, when the pirates came on speed boats armed with automatic weapons, sources said.
Later, INS Tabar, which was about 25 nautical miles away from the place of pirate attack, closed in on the merchant vessel and escorted it to safety.
The Tabar is a Talwar-class stealth guided missile destroyer, amongst the most modern of Indian Navy ships of Russian design. It is the third of the three ships constituting the class, with Trishul being the second ship.
With the last attack on the Stolt ship, India has decided to patrol the Gulf of Aden and intervene in case of emergencies.