The Indian Navy foiled an attempt to attack merchant vessels in the Gulf of Aden about 180 km from the Somali coast in the international transit corridor late on Sunday night.
The incident happened when INS Delhi deployed in the gulf on an anti-piracy mission was escorting 12 merchant vessels including Jag Ratan – a Indian merchant vessel – through the transit corridor, Indian Navy officials said.
Officials on the naval ship detected a boat approaching the merchant vessels at a high speed and did not respond to repeated calls made from the naval ship on mercantile marine radio.
Sensing that the boat could pose potential threat to the ships being escorted, INS Delhi safely maneuvered the formation of merchant ships away and intercepted the boat. At the same time a helicopter was launched to provide aerial cover to the merchant vessels.
A team of Marine Commandos (MARCOS) intercepted the pirate boat 'Bareeda', and disarmed 7 Somali nationals and 1 Yemeni national. In subsequent search operations, a cache of arms and several fuel drums were found on board the pirate ship, said an Indian Navy release.
Navy officials said excess fuel on the boat was disposed off. The Indian Navy since it launched its anti-piracy operations in October 2008 has prevented 16 piracy attacks, and has escorted over 1,200 merchant vessels.