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Indian, Chinese Navies Rescue Merchant Vessel from Pirates in Gulf of Aden

The Indian and Chinese navies came to the rescue of a private bulk carrier which was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

News18.com

Updated:April 9, 2017, 12:02 PM IST
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Indian, Chinese Navies Rescue Merchant Vessel from Pirates in Gulf of Aden
Representative image (Getty Images)

New Delhi: The Indian and Chinese navies came to the rescue of a merchant ship which was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden on Saturday night.

A security source working at the Puntland Marine Police Force said the vessel, known as OS35, was operating under the flag of Tuvalu.

The Indian Navy deployed two warships after getting a distress call from the hijacked ship. The Chinese Navy also came to the help of the ship, while the Indian Navy provided air cover. The PLA deployed 18 of its personnel to sanitise the ship, a senior navy official said here.

Graeme Gibbon-Brooks, the head of private company Dryad Maritime Intelligence, said industry sources had confirmed the hijacking.

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), which coordinates shipping in the Gulf of Aden area, said on its website it had received a notification on Saturday from a vessel in an area in the Gulf of Aden that was under attack and may have been boarded.

The hijacking comes days after pirates hijacked an Indian dhow that was on route to Bossaso from Dubai.

Somali pirates hijacked an oil tanker in March, the first such seizure of a vessel since 2012, but released it after a clash with the marine force in Puntland.

Ship owners have become less wary of piracy after a long period of calm off the Horn of Africa, experts say, and some have started using a route known as the Socotra Gap, between Somalia and Socotra Island, to save time and costs. The route is considered riskier than others.

At its peak in 2011, pirates launched 237 attacks off the coast of Somalia, according to the International Maritime Bureau, and took hundreds of hostages.

Their actions cost the world economy $7 billion and earned the pirates some $160 million in ransoms, according to the bureau.

(With agency inputs)

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