[BITList] False alarm has Navy on pirate hunt

John Feltham wulguru.wantok at gmail.com
Sun Mar 7 01:21:35 GMT 2010

False alarm has Navy on pirate hunt

TNN, Mar 7, 2010, 02.53am IST

NEW DELHI: India dispatched two warships and an aircraft after getting a 
distress call from a Maltese bulk carrier MV Melina-I about an impending 
pirate attack on it, around 200 nautical miles west of Lakshadweep, in 
the early hours of Saturday. But it seems to be a false alarm since the 
captain of MV Melina-I later in the day reported that they could not 
spot any pirate skiffs for 30 miles around their ship.

"However, one of our warships, INS Sujata, which has an armed helicopter 
and marine commandos on board, still intends to approach MV Melina and 
escort her to safe waters before returning," said a Navy officer. 
Earlier in the day, around 2 am, MV Melina-I sent distress signals after 
its radar apparently picked up what looked like three to four pirate 
skiffs following it under the cover of darkness.

Worried at the prospect that pirates could now be operating so close to 
the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone, the Navy and Coast Guard promptly 
swung into action to dispatch the warships and a Dornier maritime patrol 
aircraft to aid the Maltese ship.

With pirates now operating much beyond the Gulf of Aden off Somalia, 
India has also been sending offshore patrol vessels to the waters near 
Seychelles and Mauritius to bolster anti-piracy patrols there.

As for operations in the Gulf of Aden, Indian warships have already 
notched up an impressive record by escorting over 700 merchant vessels 
across the strategic trade route, directly thwarting 13 piracy attempts 
since October 2008 there.


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