The Indian Navy announced on Friday that its special force boarded the cargo ship “Leela Norfolk” in the Arabian Sea after it sent a distress call due to a hijacking attempt.
The Navy said in a statement that the destroyer INS Chennai intercepted the ship this afternoon and “an Indian Marine commando force” boarded it.
A Navy spokesman stated that the special force is working to ensure that “the ship is free of any illegal persons who were reported to be on board earlier.”
The ship's exact location has not been determined, but it was last spotted by online maritime traffic controllers off the coast of East Africa 6 days ago.
Ensuring safety of navigation
The Indian Navy had previously announced that it was monitoring a ship flying the Liberian flag in the Arabian Sea, which issued a distress call due to an attempt to hijack it, and said in a statement that it quickly responded to the call.
She indicated that 5 or 6 “unidentified armed men” boarded the ship yesterday evening, Thursday.
Local media reported that about 15 Indians were among the ship's crew.
The Navy did not determine whether the hijacking of the ship was successful, but indicated that a plane flying over it made it possible to ensure the safety of its crew members.
The Indian Navy affirmed its commitment to “ensuring the safety of commercial navigation in the region in cooperation with international partners and friendly foreign countries,” and last December it deployed several ships in the region for this purpose.
The Piracy Center at the International Maritime Bureau stated that although piracy acts off the coast of Somalia decreased after the European Union launched Operation Atlanta in 2008, pirates seized a tanker on December 14 and directed it to Somalia.