India navy says responding to Liberian-flagged vessel hijack in Arabian Sea

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Navy says it has sent a warship to render assistance after the vessel issues a hijacking distress call.

India’s navy says its warship is moving towards a hijacked Liberian-flagged vessel in the Arabian Sea, and aircraft are closely monitoring the situation.

A statement by the navy on Friday said it “responded swiftly to a maritime incident in Arabian Sea involving a hijacking attempt” of a bulk carrier ship.

The ship sent a message on the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations portal, saying five to six unknown armed personnel had boarded on Thursday evening, the statement said.

At least 15 Indian crew members were on board the MV Lila Norfolk, which was hijacked near Somalia’s coast and the navy received information about it on Thursday evening, Indian media reports said, citing military officials.

An Indian warship, the INS Chennai, was diverted and deployed to assist the vessel, the navy statement said, adding that a naval aircraft overflew the hijacked vessel on Friday and had established contact with it.

The navy said it “remains committed to ensuring [the] safety of merchant shipping in the region along with international partners and friendly foreign countries”.

The Indian navy has increased its surveillance of the Arabian Sea after a recent spate of attacks in the region.

Earlier this week, the navy said it had investigated a large number of fishing vessels and boarded vessels of interest in the north and central Arabian Sea.

“India plays the role of a net security provider in the entire Indian Ocean region. We will ensure that maritime trade in this region rises from the sea to the heights of the sky,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said last month of the increased surveillance in the region.

The content above is provided by Al Jazeera news.

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