For the purpose of further investigation, the 61 pirates — apprehended by the Indian Navy on March 11 — along with the 13 hostages rescued in the operation, were handed over to Yellow Gate police on Wednesday.
“Arrangements are being made to keep all the pirates in the Yellow Gate police station lock-up. The hostages will also be kept here until their statements are recorded. All of them will be produced in the court tomorrow,” said an officer of Yellow Gate police station.
Quaiser Khalid, deputy commissioner of police (port zone), said, “One of the pirates claimed that he belongs to Ethiopia. We are trying to confirm this with the embassy. We believe that the rest of them are Somali nationals. We have arranged for a translator to assist us in the investigations.”
Taking note of the calls from MV Vancouver Bridge – that two skiffs were moving in their direction — the Navy apprehended the pirates while they were trying to hijack the vessel. The skiffs were traced to the pirate mother ship Vega 5, a Mozambique fishing trawler that was hijacked in December 2010.
“At the time, MV Vancouver Bridge was approximately 290 nautical miles off the coast of Karwar. The Navy initially sent Dornier aircrafts to determine the location of the vessel. They, then, directed INS Kalpeni that was patrolling the area, to commence an operation to rescue MV Vancouver Bridge. The operation concluded on March 13 when all the pirates surrendered,” said Khalid.
While Vega 5 sank due to the damage caused to it in the crossfire, the Naval officers ascertained that the pirates possessed 21 rifles, 2 rocket propellers and other ammunition.
Cops launch hunt for missing crew
MUMBAI: A hunt operation for 11 missing crew members of Vega 5 — a Mozambique fishing trawler hijacked on December 28, 2010, that was used as the pirate mother ship by two skiffs in the March 11 hijack attempt — has been launched by the Mumbai police.
The original crew of Vega 5 comprised 24 men — including 2 Spanish, 3 Indonesian and 19 Mozambique nationals. But the rescued crew members include only 1 Indonesian national and 12 Mozambique nationals.
“We haven’t got any news about the whereabouts of two Spanish hostages,” said an official from Spanish embassy. “We will cooperate with the police to trace the whereabouts of 11 missing hostages of which, we are told, 7 are from Mozambique,” said an official from the embassy of Mozambique.
Quaiser Khalid, deputy commissioner of police (port zone), said, “We will find out what happened to the other crew members. If the Mumbai police receives any details, it will be passed on to the Indian Navy personnel.”