The Indian Navy has foiled an attack by Somali pirates on a merchant ship, west of the Lakshadweep Islands, by apprehending 16 Somali pirates. They also rescued 16 hostages in the process.More here:
"The Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) alerted the ships patrolling off the Lakshadweep of a distress message received from merchant ship MV Maersk Kensington at about 11:00 am yesterday and foiled the attack," Defence spokesperson captain M Nambiar said.
Of the 16 rescued hostages (crew members), 12 were Iranians and four were Pakistanis.
UPDATE: What is this, the 3rd or 4th time the Indian's rules of engagement have resulted in the loss of a pirate mother ship, several pirates and the freeing of a number of hostages?
'A TU-142 maritime reconnaissance aircraft on patrol located the suspected pirate vessel and facilitated the INS Suvarna, on patrol in the area, to intercept the pirate vessel. Coast Guard Ship ICGS Sangram, also on patrol, was diverted for the operations,' he added.
Indian Navy TU-142
The pirate vessel was identified as Morteza, an Iranian trawler hijacked by the pirates and being used as the mother vessel for piracy operations.
FV Morteza (NATO photo)
INS Suvarna asked the vessel to stop but the warnings went unheeded and the pirates instead opened fire.
'The pirate vessel Morteza opened fire on the naval ship. INS Suvarna then engaged the pirate vessel in self-defence, resulting in Morteza catching fire due to the fuel drums. The pirates and hostages jumped overboard,' the official said.
INS Suvarna (offshore patrol vessl) (Indian Navy)
INS Suvarna quickly recovered the hostages and also launched a liferaft for the pirates. ICGS Sangram also joined the rescue operations.
'There were 16 Somali pirates and 16 hostages (crew members) of which 12 are Iranians and four Pakistanis,' the official said