January 1, 2009 2:22:20 pm
Swift intervention by a Malaysian naval helicopter saved an Indian vessel from a hijack bid by armed pirates dressed in military attire in the Gulf of Aden region, off Somalia.
“Heavily armed pirates on two speed boats opened fire on the Indian tanker heading towards Suez Canal early this morning but sped away after a Malaysian frigate dispatched a helicopter to rescue the vessel,” the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) chief Noel Choong said in Kuala Lumpur.
No one was injured in the incident in which pirates dressed up in military attire rigged the tanker’s bridge and accommodation bunks with machine gun and automatic fire. The Malaysian helicopter did not fire at the pirates’ speedboats, he said.
“This was the new year’s gift to the owners of the Indian tankers. If the Malaysian warship had not arrived on the scene their warship would have been hijacked,” he said.
The Indian tanker carrying full load of oil was heading towards Suez Canal when it was attacked by Somali pirates, who came close and fired at it.
The tanker’s captain took evasive measures and sent an SOS which was received by the Malaysian frigate KD Inderasakti which was only 15 nautical miles away, he said.
The frigate dispatched a light military helicopter which arrived within minutes and scared away the pirates’ boats, Choong said.
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