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Kochi, February 6, 2011
Sustained and relentless anti-piracy operations by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard bore fruit once again when a batch of 28 more pirates were forced to surrender early today, at about 100 nautical miles off Kavaratti in Lakshadweep.
INS Tir of Southern Naval Command (SNC), deployed off Kavaratti, was asked to locate the pirates who had carried out an aborted attack on merchant ship MT Chios at about 1600 hours yesterday, naval sources told UNI.
SNC launched a Dornier aircraft which located the skiffs and their mother vessel at about 2000 hours the same day, they said, adding that the naval aircraft passed the location coordinates to INS Tir, which promptly reached the area.
The ship, however, continued tracking skiffs and the mother vessel till today morning to ensure proper identification and prevent an accident.
Coast Guard vessel CGS Samar joined the operations in the morning at about 0500 hours. On being ordered to stop and prepare to be boarded, the pirates aboard the skiffs opened fire.
After correctly identifying the mother vessel as Prantalay 11, the ships contacted Prantalay 11 on radio and asked it to stop, the sources said.
However, again, the pirates fired, upon which the Navy and Coast Guards retaliated. The pirates immediately signalled their intention to surrender by hoisting a white flag.
A mix of pirates and crew-members who were being held hostage aboard the trawler were apprehended by INS Tir and CGS Samar and transferred to the latter.
The Coast Guard ship was now en route to Mumbai with 28 pirates and 24 Thai fishermen with Prantalay under tow. The pirates and hostages will be handed over to police, the sources added.