Indian Navy Thwarts Arabian Sea Hijack Attempt, Rescues Crew Safely

Indian Navy Thwarts Arabian Sea Hijack Attempt, Rescues Crew Safely

NEW DELHI - In a swift operation on Friday, the Indian Navy successfully thwarted an attempted hijacking in the Arabian Sea, rescuing the crew of the Liberian-flagged MV Lila Norfolk. Responding to a report received by the UK Maritime Trade Operations about armed individuals boarding the vessel 460 nautical miles off Somalia, the Indian Navy intercepted the ship within a day.

The crew, consisting of 21 members, including 15 Indians, had sought refuge in the ship's citadel. All were safely evacuated, and the Navy found no pirates on board. The vessel, chartered by Anglo-American, left Rio de Janeiro's Acu port on December 6, carrying iron ore. The company confirmed the crew's safety and announced the ship's continued journey to its destination in Khalifa bin Salman, Bahrain, scheduled to arrive on January 12.

The Indian Navy credited the successful operation to its increased surveillance in the Arabian Sea following recent regional attacks. The resurgence of hijackings in the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea, dormant for six years, has raised concerns. Experts attribute this to a shift in the focus of anti-piracy naval forces from the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea, leaving a void that pirates exploit.

Data from the Indian Navy's Information Fusion Centre revealed at least three hijackings in December, marking a departure from the last reported incident in 2017. Abhijit Singh from the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi emphasized the pirates' opportunism, taking advantage of the altered maritime forces' priorities. Notably, India is not part of the U.S.-led Red Sea task force. The Indian Navy's successful intervention highlights the ongoing challenges in securing these vital sea routes.

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