In a successful operation in the northern Arabian Sea, Indian Navy’s elite marine commandos (MARCOS) thwarted a hijacking attempt on Friday by boarding a Liberia-flagged vessel, the MV Lila Norfolk. The vessel, a bulk carrier, had sent distress signals on the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) portal, reporting a boarding incident by unknown armed personnel the previous evening.
The interception was carried out by the INS Chennai, a Kolkata Class stealth guided-missile destroyer, engaged in an anti-piracy patrol. Utilizing a combination of surveillance tools, including P-8I maritime patrol aircraft, Predator MQ9B UAVs, and integral helicopters, the Navy closely monitored the MV Lila Norfolk before deploying MARCOS personnel for a comprehensive “sanitization” operation.
Confirming the absence of hijackers, the Navy attributed the success to its “forceful warning,” suggesting that the pirates likely abandoned their hijacking attempt in response. The crew, secured within the ship’s citadel—an area designated for protection during a hijacking—was safely evacuated.
This incident is the latest in a series of maritime events in the Arabian Sea. Recent developments, including a piracy incident involving the Malta-flagged MV Ruen and a drone attack on the Liberia-flagged MV Chem Pluto, indicate a notable shift in maritime threats closer to the Indian exclusive economic zone.
In response to these challenges, the Indian Navy has intensified maritime security and surveillance in the central and northern Arabian Sea. Five warships, including INS Kochi, INS Mormugao, INS Kolkata, INS Chennai, and a Talwar Class frigate, have been strategically deployed off the Gulf of Aden. Additionally, a fleet of surveillance assets, comprising P8I maritime patrol aircraft, MQ-9B Predator drones, and Dornier aircraft, is actively conducting enhanced surveillance in the region.
The Navy’s commitment to ensuring the safety of merchant shipping in collaboration with international partners and friendly foreign countries remains steadfast. These proactive measures are part of a broader strategy to address emerging maritime threats and safeguard the interests of the Indian Navy in the Arabian Sea.