The original crew of Prantalay14, a hijacked Thai fishing trawler-turned-pirate ship, which was sunk west of the Lakshadweep in a joint anti-piracy action by the Navy and the Coast Guard on Friday, were brought here on Saturday evening and sent to Mumbai on Sunday by INS Cankarso, which spearheaded the operation.
While the Coast Guard's advanced offshore patrol vessel Sankalp, which took part in the action, took on board 15 captive pirates and headed straight for Mumbai for handing them over to the police, the rescued Thai and Myanmar nationals, 20 in all, were brought here on Saturday evening by INS Cankarso, a recently commissioned Water jet Propelled Fast Attack Craft. Three injured Myanmarese were administered first aid at INHS Sanjeevani.
“They are fit for travelling, and so the entire group is being taken to Mumbai by the same ship. They will be handed over to the police and are expected to be examined as witnesses in the criminal trial against the pirates,” sources in the Navy said.
“However, whether they were hostages or accomplices in pirate designs will be investigated by the police,” they said.
Ever since it was hijacked in April last, Prantalay14 was widely used by pirate groups as a floating base to launch attacks on merchant vessels passing along the busy shipping lanes around the Lakshadweep island chain.
On Friday, two skiffs launched from it tried to pirate a container carrier, the Bahamas-flagged CMA CGM Verdi. A Mayday message from the ship alerted the maritime security agencies and the face-off ended with the sinking of the pirate-controlled trawler.
Spurt in piracy
Two months ago, a spurt in piracy attempts in the eastern Arabian Sea forced the Southern and Western Naval Commands to deploy a task group to intensify patrol in the area. This has helped curb pirate activities.