Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Success rates of pirate attacks on decline: Indian Navy

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Dec 2, IRNA -- Observing that efforts of Navies of various countries have helped foil a large number of pirate attacks on merchant vessels in the Gulf of Aden, Navy Chief Admiral Nirmal Verma Friday said around one out of every 10 attempts by the sea-brigands were only successful this year.

Addressing the annual press conference ahead of Navy Day celebrations on December 4, Verma said, 'Due to sustained efforts of navies and the shipping community, the success rate of piracy has dropped from 38 per cent in 2008 to 11 per cent this year.'

On performance of Indian Navy in anti-piracy operations, he said it has substantially increased its deployments for this purpose in the East Arabian Sea including in areas of Lakshadweep and Minicoy islands.

'As a result of these deployments and actions against four pirate mother-ships this year, the threat of piracy attacks has sharply reduced in this area. Over a 100 pirates were apprehended and 73 fishermen and crew were rescued during anti-piracy operations in the East Arabian Sea this year,' he said, pti reported.

Verma said as a result of the naval action in Gulf of Aden by several countries, piracy has now shifted to new areas including the East Arabian Sea.

'In order to counter this new trend, the Indian Navy substantially increased its anti-piracy deployments in East Arabian Sea including areas off Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands,' he added.

The Navy Chief said piracy off the Somali coast has grown steadily over the years and while 217 attacks were reported in 2009, the number increased to 219 in 2010.

'The number of incidents have already reached 228 for the current year till Nov 11. But the success rate of pirates have come down due to our sustained efforts,' he said.

On naval deployment in piracy infested areas, Verma said, 'Since 2008, close to 1900 ships have been escorted by Indian Navy in the Gulf of Aden, of these foreign flagged ships are close to 1,700. During anti-piracy operations, we have prevented 39 piracy attempts on merchant vessels.'

He said piracy has a direct bearing on the economy as large percentage of India's trade including oil and fertilizers passed through Gulf of Aden.

'The Shipping Ministry has estimated that Indian exports and imports through the Gulf of Aden route are valued in the range of over USD 100 billion. About 24 Indian-flagged merchant ships transit the this area every month.'

Replying to a question on Iranian merchant ship MV Assa which has anchored-off the Lakshadweep coast for over a month, Navy Chief said External Affairs Ministry is in touch with Iran on the issue and the ship is under observation by the Navy.

'As per international laws, ships are allowed innocent passage through EEZs. Initially it was reported the ship has anchored there because of certain material problems which needed repair. But it has remained there. MEA is in touch with Iran in this matter,' he said.

On the possibility of naval action to tackle such situation, he said, 'As far as we are concerned, if the situation like this happen, I will have to devote certain resources to keep any such development under observation to start with.

In the long term, if a situation like this happens, we have to ensure that we keep the concerned platform under surveillance, which is being done even in this case.'

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30694501

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