Sunday, June 26, 2011

Surveillance up in IOR, 174 vessels hijacked by Somali pirates

New Delhi, Mar 14 (PTI) A total of 174 merchant vessels have been hijacked by Somali pirates in last three years and a few sporadic incidents have been reported off Lakshadweep, Defence Minister A K Antony said today.

In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Antony said, "As per International Maritime Bureau (IMB) the number of ships hijacked from January 14, 2008 till March 11 this year is 174.
Piracy on the Somalian coast is a global menace and has in recent times moved eastwards as well as southward.

"Sporadic incidents have been reported off Lakshadweep... Government has deployed one Indian Naval Warship in the Gulf of Aden for anti piracy patrols since October, 2008 and more than 1,500 ships have been escorted," he added.

Antony informed the House that in a recent joint operation, the Indian Navy and Coast Guard intercepted two hijacked vessels of Thai origin in January and February this year.

"Fourth-three pirates and 44 fishermen of Thai and Myanmarese origin were captured and handed over to Mumbai police. An Iranian Dhow ''Al Javaidi'' with four Iranian and 15 Pakistani were apprehended off Lakshadweep and handed over to local police at Kavaratti," he said.

He said that Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are regularly deployed for surveillance cost to the Indian coast.

"Due to reports of rising incidents of piracy, surveillance has been increased in Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

Although there are arrangements for Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) surveillance, India has not concluded any treaty with any country for join patrolling," Antony added.

He said that no Indian soldier has been lost during anti-piracy operations and while escorting the merchant vessels in the Gulf of Aden.