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Indian navy foils another attack by Somali pirates

Even as the world's largest supertanker the Saudi Sirius Star continues to be in the grip of pirates of the coast of Somalia, the
Indian navy appears to have taken the lead in the fight against pirates. ( Watch )

An Indian warship deployed in the Gulf of Aden fought Somali pirates and destroyed their vessel after a brief battle, the navy said on Wednesday.

Two accompanying speed boats sped away after the main vessel was blown up late on Tuesday.

"INS Tabar retaliated in self defence and opened fire on the mother vessel," the navy said in a statement.

"As a result of the firing by INS Tabar, fire broke out on the vessel and explosions were heard, possibly due to exploding ammunition that was stored on the vessel."

Naval officers on board the warship said they spotted pirates moving on the deck with rocket propelled grenade launchers.

"On repeated calls, the vessel's threatening response was that she would blow up the naval warship," the navy said.

India deployed INS Tabar, a naval warship, to escort Indian ships after the country's shipping firms said they were losing $450,000 a month on cost overruns and delays in meeting deadlines.

Crew members are reluctant to sail in the Gulf of Aden, one of the world's most important sea trade routes, fearing attacks by pirates.

Meanwhile, Saudi supertanker Sirius Star was hijacked over the weekend and has anchored off the coast of Somalia in Eyl, even as pirates took over another Iranian-operated cargo vessel with a Hong Kong flag ‘Delight’. US navy commander Jane Campbell of the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet said the status of the crew and cargo was not known. There are some Indians among the 25-member crew.

In the first-ever action after being deployed in the Gulf of Aden, the Indian navy on November 11 thwarted an attempt by pirates to capture an Indian merchant vessel in the region. The ship, M V Jag Arnav, had 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 in New Delhi said.

When the 38,265-tonne bulk carrier, owned by Mumbai-based Great Eastern Shipping Company, raised an alarm, it caught the attention of the Indian naval warship, INS Tabar, which was patrolling in the Gulf of Aden waters.


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