According to military officials, the Indian Navy is closely following the situation surrounding a hijacked commercial ship reported last evening near Somalia’s coast. According to authorities, the Liberian-flagged ship ‘MV Lila Norfolk’ is thought to have 15 Indian crew members on board.
According to officials, Indian Navy aircraft have been deployed to keep a vigilant watch on the hijacked ship’s movements. Communication has been successfully established with the vessel, providing a crucial link to assess the situation and safety of the crew on board.
“The vessel had sent a message on the UKMTO (United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations) portal, indicating boarding by approximately five to six unknown armed personnel on the evening of January 4, 2024,” according to the Indian Navy.
Indian warship INS Chennai is moving towards the hijacked vessel to tackle the situation, the navy added.
“Naval aircraft continues to monitor movement and INS Chennai is closing the vessel to render assistance. The overall situation is being closely monitored, in coordination with other agencies/ MNF in the area,” the statement read.
Details surrounding the hijacking, including the identity of the perpetrators, remain undisclosed at this time.
An increase in pirate attacks
The hijacking occurred just days after an unknown assailant captured a Maltese-flagged commerce vessel in the Arabian Sea, placing piracy in the spotlight. Six ‘pirates’ had illegally boarded the ship, according to the vessel.
The Indian Navy eliminated one of the 18 crew members aboard the stolen cargo vessel, a Bulgarian national, to offer medical attention after he was injured by the pirates. The frontline ship INS Kochi rescued the sailor.
Pirate attacks in the region peaked between 2008 and 2013, but have since progressively reduced as a result of the multi-national maritime task force, which includes the Indian Navy.
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