A week after it guarded 13 merchant vessels from piracy attack, an Indian warship has once again warded off an attempt by sea brigands on nine cargo ships including an Indian vessel off Yemeni coast in Gulf of Aden.

This is the 17th successful operation of the Indian Navy to prevent a piracy attack on merchant vessels escorted by its warships since October 2008, when they were deployed in Gulf of Aden.

INS Delhi, a guided missile destroyer, was escorting the nine cargo vessels, including MV Desh Ujala flying the Indian flag, on Sunday at 130 km south of Yemen when the incident took place, according to a navy press release here on Monday.

INS Delhi, which has been deployed in Gulf of Aden since July on anti-piracy mission, had similarly saved 12 merchant vessels from an attempt by pirates in Gulf of Aden on September 6.

The warship was escorting the formation around 4.10 pm when it detected a boat approaching the cargo ships at high speed.

“Sensing that the boat may pose a risk to ships being escorted, INS Delhi safely manoeuvred the formation away and intercepted the boat using a team of Marine Commandos,” the release said.

The boat crew was observed throwing items overboard as the Marine Commandos approached it. On investigation, several fuel containers and ship board equipment were found on board the boat.

The pirates’ boat was also towing a skiff and two powerful outboard motors. There were five Somali and two Yemeni crew members on the boat. They were disarmed, excess fuel disposed off by the marine commandos and the boat allowed to drift along with the crew.