News updates by Newsparviews: January 5 – Following an attempted hijack in the Arabian Sea on Friday, the Indian Navy saved the crew of a commerce vessel and declared that no pirates were present.

Less than a day after learning that the bulk carrier MV Lila Norfolk, flying the flag of Liberia, had been taken over, an Indian Navy warship INS Chennai intercepted the ship some 460 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia.

The crew of the ship had gathered in the ship’s citadel when five to six armed individuals boarded the vessel on Thursday, according to a report received by the UK Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency.

According to the navy, all 21 of the crew members—including 15 Indians—had been evacuated, and a cruiser was assisting in reestablishing power so the ship could continue her journey.

According to British marine security company Ambrey, the ship was headed for Khalifa bin Salman in Bahrain. What it carried was not immediately apparent.

“The attempt of hijacking by the pirates was probably abandoned with the forceful warning by the Indian Navy, marine patrol aircraft, of interception by an Indian Naval warship,” the navy stated in a statement.

Following recent strikes in the region, the Indian Navy has stepped up its monitoring in the Arabian Sea.

After a six-year hiatus, commercial ship hijacking and attempted hijacking in the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden returned in December. Experts surmise that the United States-led naval forces fighting piracy have incentivized pirates by focusing their attention on the neighboring Red Sea in an attempt to stop Houthi rebel attacks there.

At least three hijackings occurred in December, according to data from the Indian Navy’s Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region. The prior instance of this was documented in 2017.

Head of the Maritime Policy Initiative at the Observer Research Foundation think tank in New Delhi, Abhijit Singh, said: “The sudden revival in ship hijacking and attacks can only be attributed to the pirates’ willingness to take advantage of the fact that the focus of anti-piracy maritime forces has largely shifted from the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea.”


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