With no instructions from the Indian government, Navy ship INS Mysore is virtually at sea over what to do with the 23 pirates and their dhow apprehended by it in the Gulf of Aden while repulsing an attack by the brigands on an Ethiopian merchant vessel.
"Since Saturday afternoon, the 12 Somali and 11 Yemeni pirates are kept in custody on board INS Mysore and they are being fed with the rations meant for sailors," Navy officials said in New Delhi on Monday.
"We have not received any instructions yet from the Defence Ministry or the External Affairs Ministry on what needs to be done with the pirates," they said
The piquant situation that INS Mysore finds itself has been compounded as the Rules of Engagement issued to the warship before it set sail to Gulf of Aden on anti-piracy patrol duties is unclear on the course of action if it did seize a pirate vessel and sea brigands, officials said.
However, officials claimed that frantic efforts were in progress in both Ministries to get a foreign port to accept the bandits for trial in their courts and were optimistic of finding a solution by tomorrow.
The only other option available to INS Mysore is to abandon its anti-piracy patrols and return to an Indian port to hand over the pirates to local authorities for trying them.
But that appears to be unacceptable to the Navy authorities as their action against the sea bandits was just gaining momentum.
Officials said under the United Nations Convention on Laws of the Seas (UNCLOS), International Maritime Organisation resolutions and the Navy Act and Regulations, the warships were authorised to seize and apprehend the pirates.