Atul Aneja

DUBAI: The Navy prevented the hijack of an Indian merchant ship on the high seas in the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday.

An armed helicopter on board the INS Tabar, patrolling the area, flew marine commandos to the ship, which the pirates had attacked. The pirates abandoned their attempt to board m.v. Jag Arnav, following the intervention by the commandos.

The hijack bid took place when the 38,265-tonne bulk carrier, owned by the Great Eastern Shipping Company, was sailing 60 nautical miles east of Aden. The INS Tabar was then 25 nautical miles away from the spot.

The Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden from October 23. A naval ship, with a contingent of marine commandos and helicopters on board, has been sent to the port of Salalah in southern Oman.

With vital shipping lanes passing through the area, India has been emphasising the importance of maritime security in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Aden.

During the recent visit to the Gulf by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, India signed a maritime security framework agreement with Qatar. A defence agreement was also signed with Oman, to take India-Oman security cooperation to the “next level.”

Diplomatic sources pointed out that from bases in Djibouti and Bahrain, the multinational Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) has been dominant in the area surrounding the Gulf of Aden. The countries participating in the CTF-150 include the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Australia and Pakistan.

Saudi Arabian ship saved

Sandeep Dikshit

reports from New Delhi:

In another rescue effort minutes earlier, marine commandos from INS Tabar fired warning shots to prevent pirates from attacking a Saudi Arabian ship Tihama in the area.

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