All crew members, including 15 Indians, aboard the hijacked vessel MV Lila Norfolk on Friday, have been rescued. Indian Navy Marine Commandos are conducting sanitisation operations in other areas of the ship, news agency ANI reported citing officials.
All the crew, including 15 Indians, onboard the hijacked vessel MV Lila Norfolk have been secured and are safe. Indian Navy Marine Commandos are carrying out sanitisation operations in other parts of the vessel: Military officials to ANI pic.twitter.com/HUToLWJUO9
— ANI (@ANI) January 5, 2024
Citing Defense officials, ANI reported that Indian Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar issued directives to the Indian warships operating in the Arabian Sea to take the strictest possible action against the pirates. Four Indian Navy warships are mission deployed in the Arabian Sea to deter attacks on merchant ships in the region.
Indian Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar has issued directives to the Indian warships operating in the Arabian Sea to take the strictest possible action against the pirates. Four Indian Navy warships are mission deployed in the Arabian Sea to deter attacks on merchant ships in the… pic.twitter.com/rZNatUuHRz
— ANI (@ANI) January 5, 2024
Earlier in a statement, the Navy said it has taken immediate action by deploying a warship and a maritime surveillance aircraft in the Arabian Sea, in response to the reported hijacking of the Liberian-flagged merchant vessel, MV Lila Norfolk.
According to reports, MV Lila Norfolk transmitted a distress signal through the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) portal, indicating that a group of five to six armed individuals had boarded the ship on Thursday evening. Indian Navy officials have stated that they are closely coordinating with other regional maritime agencies to monitor the situation.
#INSChennai diverted from #AntiPiracy patrol intercepted MV Lila Norfolk at 1515h on #05Jan 2024.
MV was kept under continuous surveillance using MPA, Predator MQ9B & integral helos.#IndianNavy MARCOs present onboard the Mission Deployed warship boarded MV & commenced… https://t.co/gotHLCZL5e
— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) January 5, 2024
In an official statement, the Indian Navy confirmed its prompt action, stating, “The Indian Navy swiftly deployed a maritime surveillance aircraft and redirected INS Chennai, which was on a maritime security mission, to assist MV Lila Norfolk.” The statement further mentioned that the aircraft made contact with the vessel early on Friday morning, confirming the safety of the crew on board.
The UKMTO, a British military organisation responsible for monitoring vessel movements in strategic waterways, constantly tracked the situation. This incident adds to a series of maritime security breaches observed in critical waterways in recent weeks.
Earlier incidents include a drone attack on the Liberian-flagged MV Chem Pluto, carrying 21 Indian crew members, off India’s western coast on December 23. Additionally, a commercial oil tanker en route to India experienced a suspected drone strike in the Southern Red Sea on the same day, with 25 Indian crew members on board. Another notable incident involved the hijacking of the Malta-flagged MV Ruen by pirates on December 14.