Saturday, March 19, 2011


Prantlaya 11, 12 and 14 along with their crew were hijacked by the pirates in April last year. Prantlaya-14 was extensively used for piracy attacks and was eventually sunk in a co-ordinated operation of the Navy and the Coast Guard on 28 Jan 11.

Maritime Rescue Co-ordinating Center (MRCC), Mumbai received an information from the ReCAAP, Information Sharing Centre, Singapore at about 1600 hrs on 05 Feb 11 that MT Chios, a Greece flagged crude oil tanker transiting from Singapore to Yemen, was attacked by the pirates on 05 Feb 11, in position about 82 nautical miles west of Suheli Par in the Lakshadweep & Minicoy Islands.

Position of Pirate Mother Vessel
On receipt of the information, MRCC Mumbai contacted MT Chios to ascertain the ongoing situation. The vessel reported that one skiff with 05 heavily armed pirates attempted to hijack the vessel. The attack was thwarted by the ship through anti piracy measures. The vessel was reported to be safe. However, one pirate mother vessel along with a skiff was suspected to be operating in area.

Indian Coast Guard Ship Samar on routine patrol off the Lakshadweep Islands, was diverted with dispatch at 1845 hrs on 05 Feb 11 for sanitizing the area. The ship proceeded at maximum speed, arrived the area at 0500 hrs and commenced search for the pirate mother vessel operating in area. At about 0510 hrs on 06 Feb 11, the ship encountered an unlit contact operating in the area suspected to be the pirate mother vessel. ICGS Samar commenced shadowing the vessel. In the meantime, a small
contact approached the ICG ship from the stern at high speed. ICG ship fired at the contact and therefore it broke off its chase and returned to the pirate mother vessel.

ICGS Samar continued shadowing of the pirate vessel till day break. INS Tir reportedly in the area, joined the coordinated anti piracy operation with the ICG ship. ICGS Samar assumed the duties of On Scene Commander. ICG Dornier was also launched from Kochi in armed configuration at about 0630 hrs on 06 Feb 11 for sea-air coordinated operation. At day break, ICGS Samar closed in towards the pirate mother vessel and identified her as Prantalaya-11 (Thailand flagged fishing vessel hijacked by Somalian pirates in Apr 10). The efforts of the ship to contact the mother vessel on MMB channel 16 did not yield any result.

The vessel was sighted picking up the speed and proceeding west. ICGS Samar fired warning shots across the bows and ahead of the fleeing vessel to compel her to stop.

Further, men with arms were observed on the upper decks of the vessel. The vessel subsequently stopped due to firing by ICGS Samar along with ICG Dornier and IN ship. After firing by ICGS Samar using higher grade weapons, the crew of the pirate
vessel surrendered by hoisting a white flag and mustered on the forward portion of the ship.

All personnel onboard the pirate vessel were thereafter directed to jump into the water for recovery by ICG ship. While 22 Somalian pirates and 16 Thai crew members were recovered by ICG Samar, 06 Somali pirates and 08 Thai crew members were recovered by INS Tir. During the operation 03 pirates are reported to be injured and most of the arms from the mother vessel are suspected to have been dumped overboard.

Further rummaging of the mother vessel is in progress and she is likely to be towed to Mumbai for handing over to the police for initiating legal action.