Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Three Cheers for Indian Navy

The Indian Navy has proved its mettle once again. Sent to weed out the sea pirate menace in the Gulf of Aden, the naval warship INS Tabar sank a pirate 'mother ship' after a fierce gunbattle.

Ever since its arrival on the Gulf of Aden, INS Tabar has successfully escorted 35 ships, including a number of foreign-flagged vessels, safely during their transit through pirate-infested waters in the region and also prevented two hijacking attempts on November 11
The first time the INS Tabar encountered pirates was on November 11.

In a swift action, warship INS Tabar intervened to thwart two near-simultaneous attacks by pirates on an Indian cargo vessel MV Jag Arnav and a Saudi flag carrier MV NCC Thihama within 25 nautical miles of each other.

The Indian warship received an SOS from the Saudi ship at around 1000 hours after a group of pirates surrounded it. Marine commandos on board the INS Tabar flew out in an armed helicopter and launched an assault on the attackers.

The pirates on board were armed with guns and rocket propelled grenade launchers, according to the Navy.

When it demanded the vessel stop for investigation, the pirate ship responded by threatening to blow up the naval warship.

In the ensuing exchange of fire, there was an explosion on the pirate vessel, which sank, said a statement by the Navy.

Officials suspect that the explosion occurred due to the explosive material stored inside the pirate ship.

Even as this operation was on, the warship received a panic call from MV Jag Arnav, a merchant vessel owned by Mumbai-based Great Eastern Shipping Company, with about 20 crew members on board.

The INS Tabar, sent 'an armed helicopter with marine commandos...' to intervene and prevent the hijacking, the Indian Navy said .

After having valiantly fought the pirates, INS Tabar will soon be back home following the central government's decision to send a larger warship into the region.

The Indian Navy has been patrolling the piracy-infested waters in keeping with the government guidelines to protect our sea borne trade, instil confidence in our sea faring community as well as function as a deterrent for pirates.

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