Indian Navy Boards Merchant Ship Ambushed By Pirates Off Somalia

The Indian Navy took action after the warship INS Chennai boarded the merchant ship MV Lila Norfolk, which had been ambushed by pirates off the coast of Somalia.

Indian Navy Boards Merchant Ship Ambushed By Pirates Off Somalia 1

Following the assistance of the Indian Navy, the tanker hijack scenario in the Arabian Sea involving a merchant vessel flying the flag of Liberia that was in trouble off the coast of Somalia has been resolved. This story was initially reported on Thursday.

The MV Lila Norfolk’s 21 crew members—including 15 Indians—were successfully rescued after the warship INS Chennai, which was already policing local waterways, was sent to aid the ship. The ship was assaulted by pirates in waters that Somali terrorists regularly target.

Indian Navy Boards Merchant Ship Ambushed By Pirates Off Somalia 2

After entering the ship and conducting “sanitization” operations without a firefight, the Indian Navy reports that the crew is uninjured.

“The attempt of hijacking by the pirates was probably abandoned with the forceful warning by the Indian Navy, marine patrol aircraft, of interception by an Indian Naval warship,” a New Delhi-based maritime think tank, the Maritime Policy Initiative at the Observer Research Foundation, told Reuters.

According to an unnamed US defense officer who spoke to AP, drone attacks target Israeli ships in the Indian Ocean.

The Navy of India stated that it “remains committed to ensuring [the] safety of merchant shipping in the region along with international partners and friendly foreign countries.”

Further information from a Gulf-based magazine states:

The INS Chennai, a guided missile destroyer and part of India’s maritime force helping to protect shipping in the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean, was sent to the scene of the hijacking attempt, along with maritime patrol aircraft, the navy said on Friday.

It said its aircraft had been monitoring the ship’s movements while the INS Chennai sailed towards it to offer assistance.

“The aircraft overflew the vessel on early morning of January 5, 2024, and established contact with the vessel, ascertaining the safety of the crew,” the navy said.

The Indian Navy has made available several footage that depicts commandos helping and getting on board the ship.

The waters around these waters have always been a threat from Somali militants, but with the majority of Red Sea traffic now having to circumnavigate Africa via the Cape of Good Hope as a result of Houthi attacks linked to the Gaza war, there is concern that the increased traffic will drive more vessels toward the Somali coast, providing more ‘opportunity’ and plenty of potential targets for more piracy.

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Indian Navy Boards Merchant Ship Ambushed By Pirates Off Somalia 3
Map showing the extent of Somali piracy in prior years, which greatly expanded in the range from 2005 to 2010

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