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Saturday, 11 December 2010

11 dec 2010, latest on piracy in the Indian Ocean

It is now a rampage, all over the Indian Ocean, with multiple "mother ships" being used by the pirates.

A Thai crew member thrown into the sea by pirates after hijacking a cargo vessel has been rescued by an Indian warship about 350 nautical miles off Minicoy Island in the Lakshadweep Island chain.
The Thai national's vessel, Prantalay 12, was hijacked a couple of months ago and being used as a mother ship by Somali pirates to launch attacks on other merchant vessels when he was thrown over board by the sea brigands, a navy spokesperson said here today.

India's INS Krishna, which was patrolling in the area noticed Prantalay 12 and was following it when the Thai sailor was thrown out into the sea by the brigands, he said, adding the Thai man was brought to Kochi for further formalities.

"On the evening of December 4, INS Krishna rescued the Thai national while on patrol about 350 nautical miles from Minicoy Island. On sighting INS Krishna, the trawler started heading Westwards at maximum speed away from the islands. One of the Thai nationals held hostage on board was seen to be pushed into the sea," he said.

The pirates later sailed the trawler at high speeds towards the Somali coast.

Prantalay 12 is the second suspected mother vessel that was cleared from the Eastern Arabian Sea. The navy had deployed a multi-ship force in November about 300-400 nautical miles off India's west coast to clear the area of the pirates.

During the course of the security sweep in the area, the navy ship chased another merchant tanker MT Polar, being used as a mother ship by pirates, away from the region.

"Navy and Coast Guard ships and aircraft continue to patrol the areas of reported pirate attacks in an effort to ensure safety of the sea lanes of communication," the navy spokesperson said, reiterating the requirement for all merchant vessels to adopt best management practices, as prescribed by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as vital to ensuring the safety of shipping from piracy.
However, a Bangladeshi merchant vessel was hijacked by Somali pirates about 80 nautical miles off Minicoy Island and about 320 nautical miles of Indian west coast in international waters, but within Indian Exclusive Economic Zone.

The vessel, identified as MV Jahan Moni, had raised an alarm that it was being chased by a pirate-operated skiff and sought help, but by the time the Indian Navy and Coast Guard ships that were in the vicinity could respond, the merchant vessel was hijacked, Defence Ministry sources said.

The attack on MV Jahan Moni came on Sunday and the 26-member crew were captured by the pirates, who took the vessel back to Somali coast, the sources said.

The vessel was reportedly carrying 41,000 tonnes of nickel on board and it is believed that the pirates would use both the merchandise and the crew of the cargo ship to demand a ransom, they said.
The attack took place at the 'eight-degree channel' between Minicoy Island and Maldives, which witnesses a traffic of about 40 cargo ships on an average every day.

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