Indian Navy Deploys Warship, Commandos Responding to Cargo Vessel Hijacked off Somalia

A maritime patrol aircraft and a stealth destroyer were deployed for the Indian Navy's operation
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  • 02:35 PM, January 5, 2024
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Indian Navy Deploys Warship, Commandos Responding to Cargo Vessel Hijacked off Somalia
Cargo vessel seized off the coast of Somalia, carrying 15 Indian crew members @via open sources

In response to a hijacking attempt in the Arabian Sea, the Indian Navy swiftly deployed a warship and commandos to intercept the Liberian-flagged bulk carrier, MV Lila Norfolk.

The vessel transmitted distress signals on the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) portal, indicating the presence of approximately five to six unknown armed personnel. The incident occurred on the evening of January 4, 2024, prompting immediate action from the Indian Navy.

A Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) was launched, and Kolkata-class stealth guided missile destroyer INS Chennai, redirected from Maritime Security Operations, moved to assist the hijacked vessel.

On January 5, the MPA overflew MV Lila Norfolk, establishing contact and confirming the safety of its crew. INS Chennai is currently closing in to provide necessary assistance. The navy is closely coordinating with other agencies, international partners, and friendly foreign countries to manage the situation, emphasizing its commitment to ensuring the safety of merchant shipping in the region amid recent incidents of piracy in the Arabian Sea.

At least 15 Indian crew members were on board the hijacked vessel. The navy initiated "sanitization" operations on MV Lila Norfolk following a successful interception by commandos.

The Liberian-flagged vessel was hijacked near Somalia's coast, with distress signals received on January 4, 2024.

The Indian navy is maintaining close surveillance of the Arabian Sea, increasing efforts to ensure the safety of merchant shipping. Recent incidents highlight a resurgence in piracy, with experts suggesting a shift in the focus of anti-piracy forces, potentially leading to an increase in maritime threats.

In response to a series of recent attacks in the region, the Indian Navy has heightened its monitoring of the Arabian Sea. The resurgence in ship hijackings and assaults is attributed to pirates exploiting the shift in focus of anti-piracy maritime forces, which has predominantly moved from the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea.

This week, the Indian navy disclosed its examination of numerous fishing vessels and the boarding of vessels of interest in the northern and central Arabian Sea.

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