On Tuesday, the Indian Navy patrol vessel INS Sharda rescued the Liberian-flagged bulker Lord Mountbatten from a pirate attack 150 nm off the northeastern tip of Somalia.
The Mountbatten made a distress call at 1645 hours, Indian Navy officials said, and she reported two suspected mother ships accompanied by eight skiffs. The Sharda diverted to assist.
The Mountbatten was about 30 nm away at the time of the call, and the Sharda arrived towards 1900. She found all ten aggressor vessels on scene and launched an armed helicopter and special forces boarding units, which chased down the remaining pirates. Boarding teams found one gun aboard one of the dhows, according to an Indian Navy statement. The dhows reportedly lacked fishing gear.
Piracy off the coast of Somalia has resumed after a five-year lull, driven by famine and poverty onshore and enabled by falling investments in maritime security. Total expenditures on naval patrols and embarked maritime security contractors in the High Risk Area have fallen dramatically since the peak period of Somali piracy in 2011.
Somali pirates have recently shown an ability to mount hijacking expeditions far out into the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, as demonstrated by the attack on the Mountbatten. In April, EU NAVFOR spokesperson Commander Jacqui Sherriff emphasized “the need for vigilance and adherence to the self-protection measures as laid down in Best Management Practices (BMP)4. It is crucial that Somali pirates are denied opportunities to attack vessels.”