Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sunken Pirates

An Indian naval vessel, the INS Tabar, stopped a suspected pirate ship off the Coast of Oman. When the officers tried to search the vessel, pirates fired upon them. Guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers were visible on the upper deck of the pirate’s ship. Once fired upon, the Tabar struck back, which set off explosions onboard, and consequently sank the pirate “mothership.” These motherships are often large vessels, used as bases to strike merchant vessels or to take smaller attack vessels and their pirate crews into deep water shipping lanes.

Following the firefight, the Tabar followed two suspect speedboats in that were originally being towed. One speedboat escaped while the other had been abandoned.

So far this year, 95 ships have been attacked in the Gulf of Aden. Thirty-nine of these have been hijacked. Attacks are spreading farther south off the Kenyan coast and farther north into the Gulf of Aden.

Noel Choong, the head of the Piracy Reporting Center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia said, “The risks are low and returns are extremely high for these pirates.” Pirates receive millions of dollars in ransom for these acts without the consequences of prosecution. Seventeen of the reportedly hijacked vessels remain in the control of the pirates, along with 300 crew members.

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