As Somali pirates continue to hold MV Delight for ransom, with seven Indians on board, the Indian Navy is working out a ‘cooperative arrangement’ with Indian Ocean Region (IOR) countries on deployment of more warships in the Gulf of Aden to tackle piracy.
The Navy is also considering replacing INS Tabar — which sunk a Somali pirate vessel and foiled an attack bid on November 21 — with another “potent platform” in a fortnight.
“The talks with IOR countries, particularly IONS partners, have so far been very positive. The final outcome will determine the number and nature of ships and aircraft deployed,” a senior navy official said.
Incidents of piracy off the Somalian coast have seen a significant rise in the recent past, with a number of Indian crews held captive on hijacked ships.
INS Tabar would continue to be stationed in the Gulf of Aden for another fortnight, the official said.
The frigate arrived in the area on November 2 to protect the country's merchant fleet and has so far escorted over 35 ships safely through the Gulf of Aden, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes, which connects the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
The official said talks gathered momentum after India was formally given permission to act under a UN Security Council resolution allowing navies to pursue pirates into Somalia’s territorial waters. Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) had also written to the UN saying warships of foreign navies could enter its territorial waters to curb piracy.
Somali Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein had said naval patrols could not stop piracy and appealed for more help.
Meanwhile, National Union of Seafarers of India spokesperson Sunil Nair said no fresh information had been received about MV Delight, a Hong Kong flagged ship hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden on November 18.
The ship managers have reported that the crew is safe.