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Indian Navy captures 28 Somali pirates

Indian Navy and the coast guard notched up another success on Sunday as they captured a pirates' mother ship, Prantalaya 11, along with 28 Somali brigands after a gunfight.

Indian Navy captures 28 Somali pirates
07 February 2011 - 07:56

Indian Navy and the coast guard notched up another success on Sunday as they captured a pirates' mother ship, Prantalaya 11, along with 28 Somali brigands after a gunfight.

The ship was apprehended about 100 nautical miles off the coast of Lakshadweep near Kavaratti.

The pirates had attacked a Greek oil tanker, MT Chios, on Saturday at 3.41 pm. But the vessel - which was sailing from Singapore to Yemen - managed to evade the attack and informed the Southern Naval Command in Cochin. The latter deputed INS Tir, which was already deployed in the region, to track the ship.

The Cochin- based command had also launched a Dornier aircraft, which eventually located the pirate skiffs and the mother vessel about 8 pm.

The naval aircraft passed on the location coordinates to INS Tir that promptly reached the area. A coast guard vessel, CGS Samar, joined INS Tir around 5 am on Sunday. The two vessels then closed in on the mother vessel and commanded it to surrender. That was when the pirates aboard the skiffs opened fire.

The naval officers then " fired for effect". Five pirates were injured in the firing.

Soon enough, the pirates signalled their intention to surrender by hoisting a white flag.

The 28 pirates are all of Somali origin.

The navy also rescued 24 Thai fishermen who were being held hostage aboard the trawler. They were all transferred to CGS Samar.

The coast guard ship is now en route to Mumbai, with Prantalaya in tow.

While the pirates will be interrogated by security agencies before being handed over to the Mumbai police, the fishermen will be handed over to the Thai embassy, coast guard officials said.

According to a defence ministry statement, all 52 people apprehended by the navy were found on board a Thai fishing vessel that had been hijacked about six months ago An Indian Navy officer aboard the pirate mother ship that was captured on Sunday.An Indian Navy officer aboard the pirate mother ship that was captured on Sunday.off the coast of Somalia.

The vessel is thought to have since been used as a floating base to mount attacks on ships, the statement added.

Fifteen suspected pirates - 12 Somalis, two Ethiopians and a Kenyan - face trial in India after they were caught in the same area on January 28.

They were also said to have used another hijacked Thai fishing vessel as a mother ship.

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