Warships sent to hunt for pirates in Arabian Sea | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Warships sent to hunt for pirates in Arabian Sea

delhi Updated: Dec 01, 2010 00:47 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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The navy is carrying out its biggest anti-piracy operation off India's west coast, with the launch of four warships to sanitise the eastern parts of the Arabian Sea where pirate activity has been reported.

A navy spokesperson said the warships had been tasked to undertake a "comprehensive search" of waters extending from 650 km to 1,300 km from Mumbai. The navy swung into action after a spurt of piracy attempts reported by transiting merchant vessels the last week.

It also received reports about a Panama-flagged tanker (MT Polar), hijacked on October 30, being used as a mother ship by pirates.

He said, "The navy's efforts have paid off as MT Polar cleared the area on Tuesday and was heading back towards Somalia." He said the movement of the tanker was being monitored and the area was being combed to track down other mother vessels and speedboats, possibly being used by pirates.

Armed helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft are supporting the warships, which have marine commandos on board. The spokesperson said the threat of piracy in the area had decreased due to the deployment.

Armed helicopters and maritime patrol aircraft are supporting the warships, which have marine commandos on board. The spokesperson said the threat of piracy in the area had decreased due to the deployment.

The navy and Director General Shipping are monitoring the situation and issuing advisories to ships regarding piracy prone areas.

A navy official played down concerns of piracy inching closer to Indian shores.

He said, "There have been no incidents of boarding of merchant vessels by pirates. The idea is to sanitise the area and protect sea lanes of communication."