The Indian Coast Guard foiled an attempted pirate attack Friday by two skiffs that were closing in on a CMA CGM container ship in the Arabian Sea about 300 miles off the coast of southern India.
A Dornier aircraft operated by the Indian Coast Guard on a routine patrol spotted two white skiffs in the vicinity of the Bahamas-flag CMA CGM Verdi, a container ship with a capacity of 4,390 20-foot equivalent units.
"The aircraft descended and passed over the skiffs, and chased them away. A mother vessel (a hijacked Thai trawler) Prantalay was also sighted by the patrol aircraft in the area," the Indian Navy said in a statement.
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Pirates from Somalia across the Arabian Sea from India have been mounting attacks on merchant vessels further out at sea as patrols by other navies have thwarted attacks closer to their home in the Gulf of Aden. Even so, pirates took a record number of hostages last year, according to the IMB.
The Navy and the Coast Guard have been maintaining a vigil west of the Lakshadweep Islands for pirate boats for the last two months. "This has been extremely effective and the area has been free of piracy incidents," the Navy said.
"Because of the timely arrival of the aircraft, the merchant vessel is now safe and heading for its next port of call in East Asia. The suspicious mother vessel Prantalay continues to be monitored by the Navy and the Coast Guard units. Anti-piracy patrols and surveillance over the East Arabian Sea will continue in order to assure merchant vessels using the international shipping lanes in the Arabian sea of their security," the Navy statement said.
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