Somali pirates operating close to Indian shores a disturbing trend: Navy Chief

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New Delhi, Jan 31 (ANI): Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Nirmal Verma on Monday termed Somali pirates moving their activities closer to the Indian coast as a "disturbing trend".

The Navy and Coast Guard on Friday captured 15 Somalian pirates in one of the biggest major anti-piracy operations, 75 miles off the coast of the Lakshadweep Islands. They also rescued over 20 Thai and Myanmarese fishermen from the pirate ship.

The pirates have been taken to Mumbai for detailed interrogation by a special team of officials from top security and Intelligence agencies. The Navy's Fast Attack Craft INS Canskaro intercepted the pirate mother vessel Prantalay in the Arabian Sea.

The pirates were using the Thailand registered fishing trawler as the 'mother ship'.

"One disturbing trend we found from the middle of last year, particularly from the month of October and November, that some of the piracy incidents were happening closer to our waters. We can say about 300 miles off the Indian mainland and 100 miles off the Minicoy and Lakshwadweep islands," said Admiral Verma on Monday.

"So what we have done since November last year, we have deployed larger number of ships and crafts, both from the Navy and the Coast Guard, as well as surveillance has set again from both the services to ensure our presence in this area," he said.

Reacting to the recent arrest of Somali pirates in joint operation led by the Navy, Admiral Verma said that a larger deployment of forces could prevent such attacks.

"The ship, which was in action, was a small fast-attack craft. So they did pick up the hostages with largely Thai and Myanmarese fishermen. The pirates are now being taken to Bombay (Mumbai) and they must have arrived there, and the matter will be prosecuted further," he said. By Praful Kumar Singh (ANI)

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