An Indian Navy frigate captured a group of pirates after exchanging fire with them, confiscating a hijacked mother ship and rescuing all hostages aboard in the South Arabian Sea.
"At approximately 9:00 p.m. (local time) March 12, the INS Kalpeni intercepted a pirate mother vessel called Vega 5 about 600 nautical miles west of India. 13 crew members were rescued and 61 pirates apprehended," the Navy said in a statement.
The operation was launched Friday when a naval Dornier aircraft spotted the Vega 5 (a Mozambique fishing trawler) while responding to a call from the Panama-registered merchant ship MV Vancouver Bridge that it was under attack by pirates.
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"Seeing the naval aircraft, the pirates immediately aborted their piracy attempt and the mother vessel tried to escape from the area. Immediately, INS Kalpeni and Khukri were diverted to search the area and intercept the mother ship,” the Navy said.
According to the Navy, the Vega 5, reportedly taken by pirates Dec. 28 last year, had been a threat to merchant vessels using the international shipping lanes in the Arabian Sea.
The raid was the third by Indian naval vessels this year after the Navy and Coast Guard stepped up surveillance in the region and launched a joint anti-piracy exercise, called the Operation Island Watch, along the Lakshadweep Islands.
Meanwhile, according to local reports, Somali pirates released a Bangladeshi-flag cargo ship, the Jahan Moni, and its crew members Monday, three months after they captured the bulk carrier off the Indian coast.