Mumbai, January 5: In a swift operation, the Indian Navy’s Marine Commandos have rescued all the 15 Indian crew aboard a Liberian-flagged cargo ship, barely within 20 hours after it reported a hijack off the northeastern coast of Africa, officials said on Friday. The ship 'MV Lila Norfolk' was taken over early on Friday by around 5-6 pirates when it was on a voyage from Port Du Aco in Brazil to Khalifa Bin Salman Port in Bahrain, as it was around 550 km off the Somalia coast.

Responding swiftly to the distress call, warship INS Chennai was diverted from her anti-piracy patrol to the spot and it intercepted the hijacked ship around 3.15 p.m. in the Arabian Sea. Indian Navy Intercepts Merchant Vessel MV Lili Norfolk After Attempted Hijacking; Rescues 21 Crew Members (Watch Video).

Indian Navy Intercepts Merchant Vessel MV Lili Norfolk

The elite Marine Commandos have boarded the MV Lila Norfolk and initiated the sanitisation operations. Prior to the operation, the Liberian-flag vessel was kept under continuous surveillance using Maritime Patrol Aircraft, helicopters and Predator MQ9B. Early on Friday, the hijacked ship had sent an SOS to the UK Maritime Trade Operations portal indicating 5-6 armed persons had boarded it late on Thursday. Indian Navy Secures Crew, Including 15 Indians, on Hijacked MV Lila Norfolk in Daring Operation.

This was the third incident of its kind in the high seas on the country's west coast in the past one month or with the Indian Navy rising to the occasion with a rescue and relief operation. On December 23, 2023, another Liberian-flagged oil tanker ‘MV Chem Pluto’ with 21 Indian crew was targeted in a drone attack, followed by a similar attack on a Gabon-flagged crude oil carrier, ‘MV Saibaba’ on Dec. 24 with 25 Indians on board, but there were no casualties in both the incidents.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jan 05, 2024 09:28 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website