Indian Navy thwarts Arabian Sea hijack; 6 Filipinos among ship's crew

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

January 6, 2024, 8:25 pm

<p>Liberian-flagged MV Lila Norfolk<em> (Photo courtesy of Indian Navy)</em></p>

Liberian-flagged MV Lila Norfolk (Photo courtesy of Indian Navy)

MANILA – The Indian Navy thwarted a hijacking attempt on a merchant vessel carrying Indian and Filipino crew while sailing north of the Arabian Sea.

Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran on Saturday said the Indian Navy intercepted the Liberian-flagged MV Lila Norfolk on Friday and has since evacuated all its crew members.

“All 21 crew members were swiftly evacuated in safety by Indian Navy,” the envoy posted on X (formerly Twitter).

Among the crew were 15 Indians and 6 Filipino nationals.

Local reports said five or six armed men boarded the vessel about 460 nautical miles off Somalia on Thursday.

Kolkata-class guided missile destroyer INS Chennai, which was in the vicinity of the bulk carrier, responded and found the crew at the ship’s citadel.

Upon intercepting the vessel, the Indian Navy confirmed that the hijackers were no longer onboard.

“The attempt of hijacking by the pirates was probably abandoned with the forceful warning by the Indian Navy MPA (maritime patrol aircraft) of interception by Indian Naval warship,” it said. (PNA)