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May 27, 2024

Indian Navy Rescues Crew of Hijacked Ship Off Somalia Coast

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Jan 5, 2024

The Indian Navy has successfully rescued the crew of a hijacked Liberian-flagged ship off the coast of Somalia. INS Chennai, a stealth guided missile destroyer, was deployed to assist the vessel after reports of the hijacking emerged on January 4th.

Timeline of the Hijacking and Rescue Operation

The MV Lila Norfolk, a bulk carrier with 15 Indian crew members onboard, was boarded by armed personnel on January 4th while transiting around 200 nautical miles off the coast of Somalia.

After receiving distress calls, the Indian Navy immediately dispatched INS Chennai to render assistance. MARCOS commandos also embarked the warship before setting course for the hijacked vessel.

Upon reaching the bulk carrier on January 5th, INS Chennai established communication with the crew and warned the hijackers to disembark peacefully. When they refused to comply, MARCOS commandos boarded the vessel and undertook clearing operations, rescuing all crew in the process.

The entire operation lasted less than a day, with INS Chennai and MARCOS teams reacting swiftly to secure the crew’s timely release.

Background on Piracy and Hijacking in the Region

The Gulf of Aden has long grappled with piracy, but incidents had declined over the last decade after concerted intervention by international naval forces.

However, experts have warned that there has been a recent uptick in incidents, with at least 2 attempted attacks near the Somalia coastline in December 2023 alone.

This resurgence has been linked to instability within Somalia, where clan militias and extremist groups hold considerable sway despite the presence of a central government.

India’s Robust Anti-Piracy Operations

India has maintained a proactive anti-piracy presence in the region for over a decade, even deploying an independent mission known as Operation Island Watch to escort merchant vessels in the Gulf of Aden.

Assets like INS Chennai and MARCOS teams also conduct regular patrols and exercises, honing specialist skills needed for counter-piracy and maritime intervention ops.

Just last month, the Indian Navy participated in a joint drill with the European Union Naval Force to enhance interoperability in combatting piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Western Indian Ocean.

What Happens Next

While the crew of MV Lila Norfolk have been safely rescued, security experts expect pirate activity off the Somalia coast to continue, encouraged by the area’s lawlessness and the success of recent attack attempts.

The Indian Navy seems likely to sustain an aggressive posture, carrying out threat-based deployments that deter piracy while reassuring merchant shipping crossing regions like the Gulf of Aden.

International naval patrols may also be stepped up, although instability within Somalia continues to pose challenges when it comes to securing coastal waters.

Going forward, private maritime security contractors could play a greater security role on vulnerable shipping routes, offering on-board protection and making vessels less susceptible to successful pirate hijackings.

Timeline of Key Developments:

Time Update
January 4th, 2024 MV Lila Norfolk boarded by armed personnel 200 nm off Somalia coast
January 5th, 2024 Indian Navy dispatches INS Chennai and MARCOS team to assist
January 5th, 2024 INS Chennai establishes contact with Lila Norfolk crew
January 5th, 2024 MARCOS commandos storm vessel, rescue all crew members
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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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