In the course of the recent anti-piracy operation, where the Indian Navy apprehended 16 pirates, a new modus operandi was discovered.
The Yellowgate police said the pirates led the Navy to believe they had surrendered, by forcing the hostages to stand on the deck with their arms raised.
“Seeing this, the Navy officers ceased fire because they assumed the pirates had surrendered. However, as soon as they approached the pirates’ trawler ‘Morteza’, to apprehend them, the pirates opened fire again,” said Quaiser Khalid, deputy commissioner of police (Port Zone).
During the crossfire, the barrels of fuel which were kept on the trawler’s deck caught fire. “Seeing that there was no escape, they jumped in skiffs and continued fighting. Only after the Navy sank the skiffs, did the pirates surrender,” said Khalid.
The police confirmed that two out of 18 crew members of the hijacked trawler were killed. While one was killed by the pirates after they hijacked the trawler in November 2010, the other was killed by the pirates during the crossfire. “They killed the second crew member named Adaam, to scare the hostages. We believe that both deceased were Pakistani,” said Khalid.
The police said there were more than 16 pirates who hijacked the Iranian trawler near Seychelles islands. “We believe that some of the pirates are aboard another hijacked Iranian trawler ‘Khalil’ and are using it as their mother ship,” said Khalid.
The pirates were booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (1967), which is usually invoked against terrorists.