Cargo vessel hijacked near Somalia: INS Chennai ensures safety of 15 Indian crew members

A ship flying the Liberian flag, on board 15 Indian crew members was hijacked near the Somali coast. The Indian Navy has responded promptly, mobilizing the warship INS Chennai to oversee the situation and ensure the well-being of the crew.

The Indian Navy is actively monitoring the hijacked vessel, named ‘MV LILA NORFOLK,’ with information received in the late evening. Military officials report that Indian Navy aircraft are keeping a vigilant eye on the situation, and communication has been established with the crew, who are currently in a secure location on board the ship.

Reacting swiftly to the maritime incident in the Arabian Sea, involving an attempted hijacking of a Liberia-flagged bulk carrier, the Indian Navy’s Mission Deployed platforms have been engaged. The vessel transmitted a distress message on the UKMTO portal, indicating a boarding by approximately five to six unknown armed individuals on Thursday evening.

In response to the evolving circumstances, the Indian Navy launched a Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and redirected INS Chennai, which was originally deployed for Maritime Security Operations, to provide assistance to the hijacked vessel.

The aircraft conducted a flyover of the vessel on Friday morning, establishing contact with the ship’s crew and confirming their safety. Naval aircraft are maintaining continuous surveillance of the vessel, and INS Chennai is closing in to offer assistance.

The ongoing situation is under close observation, with coordination taking place with other relevant agencies and the Maritime Security Forces in the area.

The merchant vessel, en route from Port Du Aco (Brazil) to Khalifa Bin Salman in Bahrain, fell victim to piracy 300 nautical miles east of Somalia. While INS Chennai is approaching the hijacked vessel, the military officials confirm that communication with the crew is ongoing.