NEW DELHI: An Indian Navy warship was moving toward a hijacked Liberian-flagged vessel in the Arabian Sea, and aircraft were closely monitoring the situation, the Indian navy said on Friday.
At least 15 Indian crew members were on board the MV Lila Norfolk, which was hijacked near Somalia’s coast and the navy received information about it on Thursday evening, Indian news agency ANI, in which Reuters has a minority stake, reported earlier, citing military officials.
The ship sent a message on the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations portal saying five to six unknown armed personnel had boarded on the evening of Jan. 4, the Indian navy statement said.
An Indian warship, the INS Chennai, was diverted and deployed to assist the vessel, the statement said, adding that a naval aircraft overflew the hijacked vessel on Friday and had established contact with it.
The Indian navy has increased its surveillance of the Arabian Sea after a recent spate of attacks in the region.
Earlier this week, the navy said it had investigated a large number of fishing vessels and boarded vessels of interest in the North and Central Arabian Sea.
“India plays the role of a net security provider in the entire Indian Ocean region. We will ensure that maritime trade in this region rises from the sea to the heights of the sky,” Defense Minister Rajnath Singh said last month of the increased surveillance in the region.