Special Correspondent

PANAJI: Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways T.R. Baalu told Shantaram Naik of Congress in Rajya Sabha on Thursday that the Government had approved deployment of Indian Naval warship with helicopters and marine commandos in the Gulf of Aden to patrol the normal route followed by ships carrying Indian flag during passage between Salalah (Oman) and Aden (Yemen).

The Minister said that the presence of Indian Navy in the area will help protect Indian seaborne trade and instil confidence in Indian sea faring community as well as work as a deterrent to pirates.

The Minister further told Mr. Naik that no Indian registered ship has been hijacked so far by Somalian pirates in the Gulf of Aden, though there have been attempts, which were thwarted by the vessel itself, Indian naval patrol vessel or patrol vessels of the coalition forces.

There is no reported death of Indian nationals in the captivity of the pirates, the Minister, said.

Except for the three Indian nationals taken hostage from the fishing vessel Victoria-A and eight Indian nationals on Sea Princess-II, Indians on all other ships have been released, Mr. Baalu said.