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Indian navy rescues sailors on board a ship attacked by pirates off Somali coast


By Gloria Aradi
Saturday January 6, 2024

Indian navy commandos have rescued sailors on a ship hijacked by pirates off Somalia’s coast on Thursday.

A navy statement said all 21 crew members had been evacuated from the citadel – the vessel’s fortified area.

No pirates were found on the MV Lila Norfolk, it said. A warning had been issued to the pirates before commandos boarded the vessel.

Recent attacks on vessels off Somalia’s coast have triggered concerns that piracy could be making a resurgence.

The ship, named as the MV Lila Norfolk and which bears the Liberian flag, was en route to Bahrain before it was reported as being hijacked east of the Somali port town of Eyl.

Crew members – 15 of whom were Indian – sent a distress signal to a UK marine agency (UKMTO) saying five to six armed people had seized the ship on Thursday evening.

An Indian patrol aircraft was sent to establish contact with them, followed by the guided-missile destroyer INS Chennai.

Somali pirate attacks, often launched from Eyl, were a huge problem for international shipping from 2008 to 2011, prompting countries from around the world to send warships to patrol the area.

One expert told Reuters news agency the recent attacks off Somalia could have been prompted by the relocation of navy ships from the US and other countries from the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea to safeguard shipping from Houthi rebels based in Yemen.

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