Two suspected pirate skiffs chased off Lakshadweep coast

Two suspected pirate skiffs chased off Lakshadweep coast

During the patrol, the aircraft also sighted the pirate mother ship Prantalay, which was chased away by Navy and Coast Guard vessels from the same area about a month ago, Navy officials said here.

"A Coast Guard Dornier on routine patrol located two white colour skiffs in the vicinity of a merchant vessel MV CMA CGM Berdi. The aircraft descended and passed over the skiffs and chased them away in the morning," they added.

Because of the timely arrival of the aircraft the merchant vessel is now safe and heading for its next destination in East Asia, they said.

After a spurt in piracy-related incidents, in the last two months the Navy and the Coast Guard have been maintaining an increased vigil west of the Lakshadweep Islands for pirate boats.

The suspicious Thailand-registered mother vessel, officials said, continues to be monitored by Navy and Coast Guard units.

As part of its efforts to counter piracy and enhance coastal security, Defence Minister A K Antony last month commissioned a Coast Guard district headquarters in Kavaratti and a station in Minicoy, both in the Lakshadweep Islands.

In the recent past, activities of pirates around Lakshadweep have increased and they were also successful in hijacking a Bangladeshi-flagged merchant vessel about 90 nautical miles off Kochi and 80 nautical miles off Minicoy.

Due to this spurt in pirate activity, the navy had deployed its warships along with Coast Guard vessels in the central Arabian sea.

India has also been deploying its frigates and destroyers in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008 and maintains its presence in the troubled waters since then.

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