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Navy intercepts pirate ship, rescues 13 sailors


Surya Gangadharan,CNN-IBN
Mar 14, 2011 at 04:43pm IST

New Delhi: The Indian Navy intercepted a pirate mother vessel 600 nautical miles west of the Indian coast in the Arabian Sea on Monday and rescued 13 hostages. Sixty-one pirates have also been caught in the operation carried out by Navy's INS Kalpeni.

The pirate mother vessel has been identified as Vega-5. INS Kalpeni intercepted Vega 5 in the Arabian Sea on the night of March 11 after a Naval Dornier while responding to a call from MV Vancouver Bridge under pirate attack, located the pirate mother vessel in the area.

When the pirates tried to flee INS Khukri and INS Kalpeni went ahead and intercepted the pirate mother ship.

Vega-5 is a Mozambique flagged fishing vessel and was hijacked on December 28, 201 and was being used for piracy operations. All the pirates and rescued sailors have been transferred to INS Tabar and are being brought to Mumbai.

India has already made some changes in its Navy's rules of engagement against pirates. The changes made on Friday (March 11) has widened the scope of Navy's offensive operations but within the framework of international laws of the seas.

The Cabinet Committee on Security, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi, decided to formulate a suitable standard operating procedures for the Navy and for its coordination with other navies engaged in the anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean.

At present, piracy is dealt with under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and century-old Admiralty law but the government would like to have a separate statute with provisions to effectively tackle the problem that takes place far away from Indian shores.

The Navy has deployed three ships in the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea to deal with the piracy menace.

In January, the Navy under 'Operation Island Watch' had sunk two pirate mother ships and apprehended 43 pirates.

Meanwhile, the Indian Navy also caught 23 Myanmarese poachers near the Andaman Islands on Friday. The Navy tracked down three boats in the Bay of Bengal.

The operation was carried out by INS Batti Malv which was on a routine surveillance on the western side of the Andaman Islands on March 8, 2011. The boats and poachers were intercepted off the Interview Island near Andamans.

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