INS Tabar Sank Pirate Ship

(Amrit Pal Singh ‘Amrit’)

In recent times, there has been a flow in piracy incidents off the shore of Somalia. No strict action was taken against them, although the pirates till now have managed to attack 91 vessels, with a few of them still being held captive, since January. It is said that Somali pirates have been paid more than $150m (£101m) in ransoms (Opens in a new window) this year.

The naval forces of the US, UK, Canada, France, Turkey, Germany, Russia and India are present in the Gulf of Aden. This shows how the world’s trading powers observe the piracy as a common danger. However, a strict action was needed.

And the Indian Navy did it.

On November 18, 2008, the Indian navy’s warship, ‘the Tabar’, spotted the pirate vessel while patrolling 285 nautical miles (528km) south-west of Salalah in Oman in evening. The pirates on board were armed with guns and rocket propelled grenade launchers. When Indians commanded the vessel stop for investigation, the pirate ship opened fire on the Tabar. The Indians retaliated and sank the pirate mother ship. A few of the pirates escaped on two speedboats.

Earlier, helicopter-borne Indian marine commandos stopped pirates from boarding and hijacking an Indian merchant vessel.

Now, the government of Somalia has permitted India to enter its territorial waters as part of an effort to check piracy. Indian Navy is expected to dispatch a powerful warship to drive pirates out of the Gulf of Aden. Navies of US and France have already been permitted hot pursuit in Somalian territorial waters which extends upto 12 nautical miles from the coastline.

The action by the Indian Navy is being praised (Opens in a new window).