Gulf of Aden, Nov 19: Within days of preventing the hijack of an Indian merchant vessel, India Navy’s warship INS Tabar, after exchange of fire, sank a pirate vessel off the Somali coast.
The stealth frigate INS Tabar, which is currently in the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden for Anti-Piracy Surveillance and Patrol Operations, was fired at by pirates on board a ship suspected to be the 'mother vessel' late Tuesday.
“INS Tabar encountered a pirate vessel in south-west of Oman with two speedboats in tow. This vessel was similar in description to the 'mother vessel' mentioned in various piracy bulletins. INS Tabar closed in on the vessel and asked her to stop for investigation,” Indian Navy spokesperson Neerad Sinha said. Following repeated calls, the vessel threatened to blow up the INS Tabar if it closed in.
“Pirates were seen roaming on the upper deck of the vessel with guns and rocket propelled grenade launchers. The vessel continued threatening calls and subsequently fired upon INS Tabar.
“On being fired upon, INS Tabar retaliated in self defence and opened fire on the mother vessel. As a result, fire broke out on the pirate vessel and explosions were heard, possibly due to exploding ammunition that was stored on the vessel,” Sinha said. Amidst all the action, two speedboats broke off to escape.
“INS Tabar chased the first boat which was later found abandoned. The other boat made good its escape into darkness,” Sinha added.
The Indian warship, the INS Tabar, was dispatched to the Gulf of Aden in October after a spike in piracy and hijackings off the coast of Somalia, which is caught up in an Islamic insurgency and has had no functioning government since 1991.