After the second rescue operation on high sea in a fortnight by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard on Sunday, the 28 captured Somali pirates will now join the 15 other pirates nabbed on January 28.
The pirates captured on Sunday will be brought to Mumbai and handed over to the Yellow Gate police on Monday.
Sunday’s operation off the coast of Lakshwadeep Islands bore similarities to the one on January 28.
On both the occasions, the pirates were using the Prantalay family of ships, several of which have been hijacked by them in the past six months. The trawlers bearing the generic name of Prantalaya are distinguishable from the suffix numbers.
Also, the security personnel had to engage in a firefight both times to capture the pirates. The Navy and Coast Guard ships were fired upon when they tried to contact Prantalay-11, the vessel that was used as the mother ship by pirates on Sunday, said Naval authorities.
“The fire was retaliated with strictly proportionate force from INS Tir and ICGS Samar,” Captain Manohar Nambiar, chief defence spokesperson (Western Naval Command), said.
After a brief exchange of fire, a team of marine commandos (MARCOS) boarded the pirate ship and took the pirates in custody. The pirates and 24 crewmembers of the Thai trawler, who were taken hostage, were transferred to ICGS Samar.
The Western Naval Command received inputs from its warships on Saturday about a Greek-flagged merchant ship, MV Chios, facing a concerted attack from pirates in high-speed skiffs about 100 nautical miles west of Kavaratti Island, sources in the Navy said.
The merchant vessel through speed increases and evasive manoeuvring managed to evade the pirates. “Joint planning teams of the Navy and Coast Guard swung into action and a training frigate INS Tir of the Southern Naval Command was asked to search, locate and intercept the skiffs,” said Nambiar.
The Southern Naval Command also launched a Dornier aircraft that located the skiffs and their mother vessel at about 8 pm on Saturday, and passed on the information to INS Tir.
The naval frigate continued tracking the skiffs and the mother vessel till first light on Sunday morning to ensure proper identification and prevent an accident.
Coast Guard vessel ICGS Samar, which was already on an anti-piracy deployment in the general area, joined the operations at 5am on Sunday.