The Indian Navy and Coast Guard Thursday rescued a Chinese merchant ship that had been attacked by Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea.
Navy officials said the 26,758-deadweight-ton MV Full City was attacked Thursday around 450 nautical miles off the southern coast of India while on passage from Jeddah to the Port of Tuticorin, near Chennai.
“India received an emergency call from Chinese authorities at around 8.45 a.m. local time and immediately the Navy directed one of its TU-142 aircraft, which was carrying out anti-piracy patrol in the region, and a Coast Guard ship to thwart the attempt by pirates,” officials said.
"The aircraft made a number of low passes over the ship and ordered the pirates through radio to leave the ship immediately, warning that naval warships were closing in,” the Navy said.
The warnings forced the pirates to abandon the cargo vessel, and they soon fled to their mother ship. “As there were no surface forces in the immediate vicinity to board and sanitize the MV Full City, the aircraft remained over the Chinese ship for over three hours assisting the rescue operation by coordinating with the NATO task force in the nearby region,” the officials said.
There was no exchange of fire during the operation, officials confirmed.
According to Chinese media reports, the 1995-built MV Full City is Panama-flagged and owned by Cosco (Hong Kong) Group.
Following a spurt in piracy incidents off the Indian coast in recent months, the Navy and Coast Guard maintain a strict vigil along the Lakshadweep Islands and managed to capture about 120 Somali pirates.