India destroys pirate ship off Somalia

India's increased presence in the Gulf of Aden may serve to demonstrate its military reach.

By , Correspondent

The Indian Defense Ministry announced today that the Indian warship INS Tabar destroyed a suspected pirate ship in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Africa.

It's the second major show of force from India this week in the world's most dangerous waters, which only days ago saw the seizure of the MV Sirius Star, a Saudi supertanker now being held for ransom in Somalia. A Greek ship and a Thai fishing boat have subsequently been captured.

India may be leading the way in a renewed international response to Somali pirates, who are accountable for some 80 attacks this year. In recent weeks, they have become more brazen in the size of the ships they seek and the distance they are willing to travel off the coast for their booty.

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India's Defense Ministry said the INS Tabar destroyed the pirates' boat Tuesday evening, foiling an attempted attack, according to the Los Angeles Times.

It was a brief yet explosive battle, reports The Times of India.

Indian helicopters sent by the INS Tabar fended off several pirate attacks just a week ago, and the ship went on to rescue yet another boat shortly thereafter, CNN reports.

The INS Tabar was sent to the Gulf of Aden in October "following complaints from Indian shipping firms about the attacks, which are driving up insurance premiums, forcing ships to take detours and securing massive ransoms for the perpetrators," Reuters reports.

India has a particular stake in protecting the busy commercial route, which sees some 16,000 ships annually, according to the BBC.

But India's presence in Africa's waters is about more than just business economics. The nation also hopes to demonstrate its military prowess, CNN reports.

India's activity in the waters, which are already protected by an international force that is backed by the European Union and NATO may be inspiring other Asian nations, Reuters reports.

Other rules surrounding how ships patrolling the area can deal with suspected pirates have limited how far patrolling ships can go in fighting piracy, reports the BBC.

Yet the seizure of the MV Sirius Star highlights how costly these attacks have become. That is likely to prompt affected nations to redouble their efforts to contain the problem, the Financial Times reports.

Shipping companies have already asked for help, the paper reports.

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