A cargo ship, ‘MV LILA NORFOLK’ was hijacked late last evening near the coast of Somalia. The Indian Navy’s Mission Deployed platforms responded swiftly to a maritime incident in the Arabian Sea involving a hijacking attempt onboard Liberia flagged bulk carrier. The crew of the vessel included an estimated 15 Indians, according to sources. It is being closely watched by the Indian Navy.
Luckily, communication has been established with the crew. As per military officials, the information about the ship being hijacked off Somalia’s coast was received on Thursday evening. The Indian Navy aircraft is also keeping a watch on the ship. To tackle the situation, the Indian Navy warship INS Chennai is moving towards the hijacked vessel.
Indian Navy launched a maritime patrol aircraft to tackle the situation
The vessel, MV Lila Norfolk, had sent a message on a United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) portal and indicated that approximately five to six unknown armed personnel were boarding it on the evening of January 4. The Indian Navy responded quickly to the alarming situation. To assist the vessel the Indian Navy launched a maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) and diverted warship INS Chennai, deployed for maritime security operations. This hijacking attempt is another of the attacks on merchant ships traveling via international shipping channels in the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Central/North Arabian Sea, in recent times.
Last month, a drone attack off the Arabian Sea targeted the Liberian-flagged tanker MV Chem Pluto. It had 21 Indian Crew on board. Another commercial oil tanker that was headed for India was also targeted by what seemed to be a drone strike in the southern Red Sea the same day. years. It has been estimated that the attacks on commercial ships have resulted in the rerouting of global trade away from the crucial maritime artery for consumer goods and energy supplies. Oil, natural gas, grain, and everything from toys to electronics typically travel through the waterway separating Africa and the Arabian Peninsula en route to the Suez Canal. Some of the world’s largest container shipping companies and oil giant BP are sending vessels on longer journeys that bypass the Red Sea.
The Navy’s swift action in response to the attacks
As a result of these attacks, India has raised security concerns for the first time since Houthi terrorists, backed by Iran, are also attacking other commercial vessels in the Red Sea at the same time. Having been alerted to these attacks, the Navy has deployed P-8I long-range patrol aircraft for surveillance, as well as the warships INS Mormugao, INS Kochi, and INS Kolkata in the region to maintain a “deterrent presence” in the area. Naval aircraft are continuously monitoring movement. INS Chennai is also closing the vessel to render full assistance. The overall situation is being monitored with the help of other agencies in the area.
By: Gursharan Kaur Sanhotra