THE Government of India Press Information Bureau released details of a suspicious incident occurring in the Gulf of Aden last weekend resulting in the boarding of three suspect dhows by an Indian warship following a sighting by a merchant vessel.
INS Sharda has been deployed for anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden since 6 April this year. On 16 May, at about 1645 hrs, the ship received a distress call from MV Lord Mountbatten (a Liberian registered ship), in position 230 nm South-West of Salalah (in the Gulf of Aden).
The vessel had reported an incident of attempted piracy by two suspicious mother vessels along with 7-8 skiffs. Sharda, which was at that time 30nm East of the reported position, immediately responded to the distress call and proceeded at best speed to investigate the incident.
On arriving in the area by about 1900 hrs, Sharda detected two dhows along with eight skiffs in vicinity, three of which fled the area at high speeds on sighting the warship. Indian Navy’s MARCOS, with support of the armed helicopter from the ship investigated the dhows and their skiffs by conducting board and search operations.
The absence of any fishing gear onboard the two dhows and remaining five skiffs indicated malicious intent and possible piracy-linked intentions. One high calibre AKM rifle along with one filled magazine (28 rounds) was found hidden onboard one of the dhows. The weapon and ammunition have been confiscated to prevent future illegal misuse, the report states.