Govt orders naval patrolling in Gulf of Aden region of Indian Ocean

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New Delhi, Oct 16 (UNI) On the day when the deadline of pirates to blow up the hijacked ship 'MT Stolt Valor' carrying Indians expires, the government today ordered deployment of Indian Naval warship in the Gulf of Aden for patrolling and protecting its ships.

The deployment of warship, equipped with helicopters and commandos, in the Indian Ocean region with immediate effect would help protect Indian trade through sea and instil confidence among ships passing the area, said a Defence spokesman here.

The naval ship will patrol, in coordination with Director General Shipping, the route between Salalah (Oman) and Aden (Yemen).

The patrol assumes significance as Gulf of Aden is a strategic route for Indian trade flow and ships reaching out to the Suez Canal.

Meanwhile, defence sources said talks with the pirates were on to save those on board the hijacked ship.

Owned by a Japanese company and managed by a Mumbai firm, cargo ship 'MT Stolt Valor' carrying 24 passengers including 18 Indians, was hijacked by Somalian pirates on September 15.

The hijackers have demanded two million US dollars for the release of those held captive by them, and on October 14 had set a 48-hour deadline to fulfil their demands and threatened to blow up the ship in case they are not heeded.

The captain of the ship Prabhat Goyal is an Indian.

UNI AN GT NS1915

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