The action, undertaken on 14 March 2011, saw the MV Vega-5 captured some 600 nautical miles off Mumbai. The vessel itself had been hijacked by Somali pirates on 28 December 2010, and her position and the number of pirates found onboard suggest that the vessel had been used to stage multiple attacks on shipping in the Indian Ocean. The captured pirates have been taken to Mumbai to be questioned.
IMB Director Pottengal Mukundan commented: “IMB congratulates the Indian navy on the firm stance taken by them against the pirates and particularly the capture of a large number of pirates. This instance shows that the pirates were planning attacks against ships on an industrial scale. This action has prevented many potential attacks against merchant vessels. Similar actions against known pirate action groups is vital in an area which is simply too vast for close monitoring by naval assets. For too long pirate gangs have been operating with relative impunity."
Along with the recaptured vessel, 13 hostages were released as part of the operation. In January 2011, the Indian navy sank two pirate mother ships as part of the ongoing ‘Operation Island Watch’.
A tough stance has also been taken recently by the navies of United States, Russia, Malaysia and South Korea.
Mr Mukundan continued: “We urge other states to commit additional resources to help fight this problem and to give naval commanders the rules of engagement which will provide an effective deterrent against the pirates.”
According to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) Somali attacks account for over 70% of the worldwide attacks and over 90% of the hijackings. It affects shipping in some of the key world trade routes.
IMB strongly urges all shipmasters and owners to continue to report all worldwide actual, attempted or suspicious piracy and armed robbery incidents to the IMB’s Piracy Reporting Centre and in the case of the Horn of Africa incidents as required under the BMP.
IMB Piracy Reporting Centre can be contacted:
PO Box 12559,
Tel: + 60 3 2078 5763
Fax: + 60 3 2078 5769
Telex: MA34199 IMBPCI
24 Hours Anti Piracy HELPLINE Tel: + 60 3 2031 0014