20 Dec : The Indian Navy has foiled a piracy attempt in the Gulf of Aden by stopping a suspected pirate skiff from taking over a merchant vessel.
“Around 1730 hours on Saturday, Indian Naval Ship (INS) Godavari received a distress call from a Cayman Island registered vessel MV Soderling Ace about sighting a white skiff approaching her. Located around two miles from the vessel, the ship immediately launched a ‘Chetak’ helicopter towards it,” Navy officials said.
After reaching the area, the ‘Chetak’ sighted the suspected white skiff with around seven men on it and fired warning shots, which made the skiff stop there, they added.
After closing in and boarding the skiff, Navy troops did not find any piracy triggers such as weapons and ladders on it.
“They must have dropped their weapons in the sea after seeing the Navy chopper coming towards them,” officials said.
After investigations, the navy released the seven suspected pirates along with their boat as no weapons and other suspicious items were found with them, they added.
Meanwhile, after completing its stipulated tenure in the pirate-infested gulf, the ‘INS Godavari’ will be heading back to India and will be replaced by another Godavari-class guided missile frigate ‘INS Ganga’, officials said.
Earlier this month, the Navy had thwarted an attempt by pirates to hijack a US-owned tanker in the area off Somalia’s coast.
For more than a year now, the Indian Navy has deployed its assets in the Gulf of Aden from anti-piracy operations and has escorted over 700 merchant vessels from 45 countries there during this period.