INS DELHI THWARTS FOURTH PIRATE ATTACK IN SEP’10
The Indian Navy’s Guided Missile Destroyer INS Delhi which is presently deployed in the Gulf of Aden, a hotbed of pirate activity, thwarted yet another close attempt at pirating a ship in the area. Escorting six merchant ships with 40 Indian nationals onboard the vessels being escorted, INS Delhi intercepted a suspicious boat at about 10:00 AM IST South of the Yemeni Coast. Envisaging the boat to be providing succour to pirate attack boats / skiffs lying in wait to attack unsuspecting merchant vessels plying in the area, INS Delhi immediately launched its integral attack helicopter. Under the lethal cover of ship’s gunfire and the helicopter, the Indian Navy’s Marine Commando team was launched for investigating the pirate boat.
Undertaking combat boarding in unfriendly conditions, the team carried out a thorough investigation of the pirate boat. During the search and seizure operations, a cache of arms and ammunition that included 7.62 mm automatic rifle, large quantity of ammunition including 6 rocket propelled grenades and ingenious miner’s lights were recovered.
During interrogation of the eight members of the pirate boat it emerged that the crew comprised six Somalis. The modus operandi employed by the pirates was to smuggle fuel to Somalia for pirates operating in the vicinity of the Internationally Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) to pirate merchantmen at sea. The ‘mother boat’ carries substantial fuel, food, arms and ammunition to sustain piracy operations. Use of handsfree miner’s light to facilitate boarding during moonlight / dark hours and dawn / dusk attacks, a new phenomenon, has come to light.
INS Delhi is the 21st Indian Naval Warship of the Western Naval Command deployed for counter piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden to safeguard Indian Flagged vessels and instil confidence amongst the Indian sea faring community. It is indeed notable that this was the 4th such action by INS Delhi, three being in the last four days. It maybe recalled that INS Delhi had, earlier, similarly disarmed boats on 05th, 12th and 13th Sep.
The deployment of INS Delhi in the area for the past seventy days has resulted in safe passage of over 150 merchant vessels transiting through the area under its escort. Since the Indian Navy started it's anti-piracy operations in Oct 2008 this is the 18th piracy attack that has been prevented.