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India: Navy deployed after threats against Liberian ship

India: Navy deployed after threats against Liberian ship
INS Chennai, a Kolkata-class destroyer, moored at a jetty in Mumbai, India, 18 November 2016   -  
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Rajanish Kakade/Copyright 2016 The AP. All rights reserved.


Indian Navy commandos boarded a Liberian-flagged bulk carrier that had been the subject of an attempted hijacking in the Arabian Sea and began clearance operations, the navy said on Friday.

"It's a big ship. It will take time because the commando group has to check every compartment of the ship to clear it of any pirates and there may be a confrontation," said Commander Mehul Karnik, a spokesman for the Marine.

The UK 's maritime commercial operations monitor said on Friday that the search had been completed and no pirates had been found on board, but the Indian navy said it could not yet confirm this information.

The ship sent a message to the UKMTO portal saying it had been boarded by five or six unknown armed men on Thursday evening, the navy said in a statement. The Navy diverted a vessel deployed for maritime security operations to assist the MV Lila Norfolk, the statement said.

Ambrey, a maritime intelligence company, said the bulk carrier began drifting 670 km east of Hafun, Somalia, adding that its crew included 15 Indian nationals.

The Navy said a patrol aircraft flew over the ship early Friday, established contact with the crew and ensured they were safe. The aircraft continues to monitor the aircraft carrier's movements.

According to Mr. Karnik, the crew members said they were in their vault and that is where they were operating the ship from.

The situation is being closely monitored in coordination with other agencies present in the area, the navy added.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Attacks by Yemen's Houthi rebels have sparked growing concerns about shipping in the region.

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