Navy, Coast Guard destroy Somali pirate vessel

Navy, Coast Guard destroy Somali pirate vessel

The Navy also rescued Thai and Myanmarese hostage onboard

  The pirate ship Prantalay towing the skiffs prior to hoisting them onboard. Photo courtesy/ Defence MinistryThe Navy also rescued Thai and Myanmarese hostages on board, according to Defence authorities here.

“In a well coordinated and jointly conducted operation, the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard intercepted Prantalay which was being used by Somali pirates since April 2010 for piracy at various locations in the Arabian Sea. This vessel has been a risk to international shipping for many months and has carried out several attacks,” an official statement said.

The pirates were holding 20 fishermen of Thailand and Myanmarese origin as hostages after hijacking Prantalay. The vessel was used by the pirates to launch attacks on merchant vessels passing through the shipping lanes off the island chain.

The statement said Coast Guard Dornier while responding to a call from MV CMA CGM Verdi, a Bahama Flagged container ship, located two skiffs attempting a piracy attack. Seeing the aircraft, they dashed towards Prantalay which hurriedly hoisted them onboard and set a westerly course to escape.

While the Dorniers continuously tracked Prantalay, Indian Naval ship Cankarso, a recently commissioned water jet fast attack craft deployed in the area for anti piracy patrol, was directed to intercept and investigate Prantalay.

By evening, 11 INS Cankarso closed in on Prantalay and made efforts to establish communication on the international Mercantile Marine Band, but the vessel did not respond and continued to proceed westwards in the hope of escaping.

Cankarso fired a warning shot that triggered exchange of fire and in the process a fire broke out on Prantalay where additional fuel drums were believed to be kept to fuel the skiffs and this prompted both the pirates and hostages to jump out of the vessel.

The Navy rescued 20 fishermen, the original crew of the fishing vessel who were being held hostage for several months. Indian warships and aircraft were still searching for more fishermen and pirates, the statement said.

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