Naval intervention foiled two hijack attempts

Double Hurray!

Yesterday’s operation by the Indian Navy in the Gulf of Aden saved two ships: the Saudi Arabia-registered MV NCC Tihama, in addition to MV Jag Arnav. According to TOI’s Rajat Pandit:

INS Tabar, a Talwar-class guided-missile stealth frigate, was cruising in the Gulf of Aden at about 10 am when it got a frantic distress call from Saudi Arabian chemical and oil carrier NCC Tihama.

Tihamas call said two to three high-speed boats, with several armed men, were trying to hijack the ship which was headed westwards. An armed Chetak helicopter, with four marine commandos, was immediately launched from INS Tabar, said a senior Navy officer.

Even as the Chetak hovered over Tihama, the marine commandos opened fire with their automatic weapons at the pirates trying to board the Saudi tankship after surrounding it. Deterred by the fire, the pirates promptly turned tail and fled in their speedboats into Somali waters.

It was around this time10.30 am or sowhen the Chetak was still in the air, that INS Tabar received another SOS call. This time, the message was that Indian merchant vessel Jag Arnav—which is owned by the Mumbai-based Great Eastern Company and was eastward bound after transiting through the Suez Canal a few days earlier—was being ambushed by another band of pirates in two boats about 60 nautical miles east of Aden.

The Chetak was then diverted towards Jag Arnavs position, about 25 nautical miles away from INS Tabars location, with instructions to Tihama to follow the Indian frigate for safety.

There was no need to fire even warning shots this time. Seeing the helicopter approach Jag Arnav, which had a 25-member crew, the pirates promptly jettisoned their hijack plans and sped away, said the officer. [TOI]

As long as the anti-piracy forces are better-armed and equipped than the pirates, such operations will increasingly deter pirates from attacking their targets with impunity. A key task for international forces engaged in Somalia, as well as the flotilla that has assembled off its coast, is to prevent the pirates from acquiring more sophisticated weapons. Since the Puntland coast is awash with piracy-generated income, weapons transfers to the region must be watched very closely.

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5 Responses to Naval intervention foiled two hijack attempts

  1. Invalid 12th November 2008 at 09:07 #

    It is interesting to know that IN didn’t chase the pirates to capture / kill them.

  2. NotReallyAnonymous 12th November 2008 at 09:52 #

    The incident also shows that we need a light chopper that can carry a fighting strength of more than 4 people. Next time around, the pirates can just increase their own number in a single ambush, increase the number of boats, and the directions of attack, to deter a 4 man team.

    I am not saying that Marcos training and fire discipline will not allow 4 Marcos to take on a larger group, in fact, I am pretty sure their training aims at dis-proportionate numbers weighed against them. But!, not all arms in our armed forces get their kind of training.

  3. ghana shyam 13th November 2008 at 14:27 #

    It seems that the debate on India’s Military deployment is veering towards more of a policing role.It would be prudent to have some experienced person in the field comment, rather than some academics promote some preconcieved ideas modelling on the role played by somebody else.That could have negative consequences.According to your article the Indian Navy has been clamouring to be deployed in the Somalian waters and if this deployment gets reduced to a policing role in the long run ,the Indian Navy will only have itself to blame. There are many downsides to the present operations.It could end up being messey.The navy ,it seems has not prepared itself for that.Today it is the Saudis,tomorrow someone else apart from our own,the list would continue.Those venn diagrams are fine for academic interest.One gets an impression that your blog and its commentators are suggesting some kind of rebellion by the military against an established structure which has a capacity to correct itself when the need arises.

  4. Nitin 13th November 2008 at 15:37 #

    Ghana Shyam,

    If you would like to hear from “experienced persons” you should look for websites and blogs written by “experienced persons”. Why expend your valuable time arguing with inexperienced “academics” on this blog? If you think there are serious ideas here, you are welcome to debate them. Condescension, on the other hand, is neither convincing nor welcome.

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  1. Overseas military deployments & defence decisionmaking | The Acorn - 12th November 2008

    […] navel gazing after fiascos. But it is good to do so after little successes. Even as the Indian Navy demonstrated the utility of its deployment in anti-piracy operations far from Indian shores, it is opportune to examine a […]

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