Mother-ship of Somalian pirates sunk by Indian Navy, 15 held

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New Delhi, Jan 29 (PTI) The Indian Navy has sunk amother-ship of Somalian pirates and arrested 15 of them in theArabian Sea after a gun-battle off the coast of LakshadweepIslands.

The Thailand-registered ''Prantalay'' was intercepted byNavy''s Fast Attack Craft (FAC) INS Canskaro yesterday and thetwo vessels exchanged fire after which the pirate vessel wasengulfed in flames, a Navy spokesperson said here.

The vessel was being used for piracy by Somalians atvarious locations in the Arabian Sea since April 2010 andposed a grave threat to merchant vessels passing throughthere.

The pirates'' mother-ship was under constant watch ofthe Navy since yesterday morning when a Coast Guard Dorniersaved a merchant vessel from two skiffs of the Prantalay inthe area.

At about 1700 hours on Friday, Cankarso closedPrantalay and made all efforts to establish communication butthe vessel didn''t respond and continued to proceed westwardsin the hope of escaping, officials said.

The Navy craft also fired warning shots ahead of theCankarso to compel her to stop but it opened fire at it.

After the exchange of fire, "it was observed that afire had broken out on Prantalay and personnel were also seenjumping overboard," they said.

After the incident, the Cankarso apprehended 15pirates and also rescued the 20-member original crew of theThai trawler, which was hijacked by pirates in April thisyear.

Cankarso was deployed in the area for anti-piracypatrol, was directed to intercept and investigate Prantalay.

It was subsequently joined by INS Kalpeni and CGS Sankalp andthey searching for any other fishermen or pirates in the area.

In addition to the anti-piracy patrols being sustainedin the Gulf of Aden since Oct 2008, in view of the dangersfrom vessels such as Prantalay, the Indian Navy and the CoastGuard have been maintaining vigil West of the LakshadweepIslands for the last two months leading to a 75 per centdecline in piracy related incidents in the area since December2010.

South Eastern Arabian sea is a focal point ofinternational traffic and the security of these sea lanes inthe Arabian Sea is critical to the flow of global trade. PTIAJD

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