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Indian ship with 35 crew attacked by pirates; escapes

December 22, 2009 22:00 IST
A state-owned Indian ship with a 35-member crew on board was attacked by pirates with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades in the Arabian sea, barely 500 kilometres off the western coast, but repulsed the strike before any harm could be done.

An official said on Tuesday that some quick thinking by the Captain of the Shipping Corporation of India vessel 'Maharaj Agrasen' helped prevent any threat to the lives of the crew after an unspecified number of sea brigands in speed boats in an apparent hijack bid struck late on Monday night.

The vessel with crude oil as cargo was on its way to Vizhakapatnam from Kuwait.

"The incident took place late on Monday night when a group of pirates in three speed-boats attacked the vessel with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. However, quick thinking by the ship's captain saved the crew members," National Union of Seafarers of India's General Secretary, Abdulgani Y Serang, told PTI in Mumbai.

The Captain, after making an attempt to ram the ship into a pirate boat, changed the direction of the vessel and sped away, Serang said.

SCI's Chairman S C Hajara confirmed the incident.

Last Friday, Somali pirates had seized an Indian vessel, 'MV Neseya' with 13 Indian nationals, off the coast of Kismayo in southern Somalia. The incident took place some 170 nautical miles north east of Mombasa. The present location of the vessel is not known.

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