A Coast Guard Dornier maritime recce aircraft operating from the Southern Naval Command in Kochi on Friday morning thwarted a piracy attempt by two skiffs closing in on a merchant vessel about 300 nautical miles off Lakshadweep.

The Dornier, which was on a routine surveillance sortie, sighted two white skiffs in the vicinity of the Bahamas-flagged container carrier CMA CGM Berdi. “The aircraft descended and passed over the skiffs and chased them away. A mother vessel (a hijacked Thai trawler) Prantalay was also sighted by the patrol aircraft in the area,” said the Navy in a media communiqué.

For the last two months, the Navy and the Coast Guard have been maintaining vigil west of the Lakshadweep Islands for pirate boats. “This has been extremely effective and the area has been free of piracy incidents,” the Navy said.

“Because of the timely arrival of the aircraft, the merchant vessel is now safe and heading for its next port of call in East Asia. The suspicious mother vessel Prantalay continues to be monitored by the Navy and the Coast Guard units. Anti-piracy patrols and surveillance over the East Arabian Sea will continue in order to assure merchant vessels using the international shipping lanes in the Arabian sea of their security,” the release added.

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