The pirates fled from the ship after the Indian and Chinese warships moved in.
New Delhi: Despite the strain in India-China ties, the navies of the two nations engaged in a rare joint operation in the high seas Sunday to rescue a merchant ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden. While a hovering Indian Navy helicopter gave air cover, 18 armed Chinese Navymen jumped on board the 178-metre hijacked ship to sanitise it.
After getting a distress call Saturday night on the attack by pirates on Tuvalu-registered cargo vessel OS 35 with
19 Filipino crew, the Indian Navy sent two frontline warships, INS Mumbai and INS Tarkash, while the Chinese Navy sent its missile frigate Yulin. The pirates fled from the ship after the Indian and Chinese warships moved in.
The two Indian warships were in the region as part of an overseas deployment.
The merchant ship was going from Kelang, Malaysia, to Aden, and after the attack, the crew locked themselves in a strong room inside the vessel, the Indian Navy said.
“In a show of international maritime cooperation against piracy, a boarding party from a nearby Chinese ship went on board the (hijacked) merchant ship, while an Indian Navy helicopter provided air cover. It has been established that all 19 Filipino crew members are safe,” Navy spokesman Capt. D.K. Sharma said.
The Indian Navy swung into action on getting a call from the Dubai office of UK’s Maritime Trade Organisation, which acts as the primary point of contact for merchant vessels and liaison with military forces in the region.