Aerial recce of Gulf of Aden under consideration: Indian Navy chief

November 20th, 2008 - 8:26 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 20 (IANS) Indian Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta Thursday said even as India is keen on a “collaborative” arrangement for busting piracy in the Gulf of Aden the navy is also considering the option of an aerial recce of the region. “Aerial recce will be considered in the Gulf of Aden. We are considering augmenting our efforts to keep the Indian traffic in the region safe,” Mehta said.

Somali pirates in the Gulf of Aden, in brazen acts of piracy this week, have hijacked nine ships, including the supertanker Sirius Star, in the past 12 days.

“All men of war are mandated to take action in self defence,” Mehta said talking about the retaliatory fire by Indian Navy’s stealth frigate INS Tabar that sank a pirate ‘mother ship’ and forced them to abandon another speedboat late Tuesday.

Moreover, hinting at the complexities of the international maritime law, the navy chief said India can intervene only if it gets a request from a ship under the flag of another country which is being hijacked.

“India can only intervene to rescue ship of another country only if there is a request.

“We are looking at collaboration with other countries for anti-piracy operations in the region,” Mehta added.

Somali pirates have attempted 95 hijackings this year alone, a 75 percent increase since 2007. They are currently holding 13 ships captive in the Somali ports of Eyl and Hobyo in the Gulf of Aden.

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