Mumbai, Jan 31: The 15 Somali and Ethiopian pirates apprehended by the Indian Navy after a gunbattle off the Lakshadweep coast while trying to loot a foreign merchant vessel were today placed under arrest and would face the Indian law for the first time.
The pirates -14 Somali and an Ethiopian - have been booked under various sections of IPC, including 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 307 (attempt to murder) and 363 (kidnapping), besides the Passport Act, Deputy Police Commissioner Khalid Kaisar said.
"Perhaps it is for the first time that Somali pirates will face the Indian law," the DCP said.
According to police, the pirates had launched an attack on MV Verdi, a merchant vessel flagged from Bahamas, on the high seas on Friday.
Spotting the two skiffs approaching the vessel fast, the crew alerted the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) on radio seeking help, the DCP said.
"In a joint operation by Navy and Mumbai and Kochi Coast Guard, a Dornier was flown to the spot after which the skiffs changed direction and moved towards another vessel Prantalay," Kaisar said.
Prantalay, with Thai and Myanmarese nationals on board, had been hijacked by the pirates a few months ago and the victims held hostage.