Guards Repel Pirate Attack on Cement Carrier


Published Jan 23, 2018 1:53 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Sunday, embarked maritime security contractors aboard a bulker repelled a pirate attack in the high-risk area off Somalia. 

According to maritime security firm LSS-SAPU, the cement carrier NACC Valbella was transiting 90 nm south of Mukallah, Yemen when it was approached by a pirate mother ship. The LSS security unit on board the Valbella lit warning flares, in keeping with their rules of engagement, then fired warning shots. The attacking vessel opened fire, and the guards fired another volley of warning shots. The pirates then abandoned their attack and veered away. The Valbella did not suffer material damage and no injuries were reported. 

Somali pirates repatriated

On Friday, Indian authorities deported 41 Somali pirates who were arrested in Indian waters in 2011. The Somali government arranged a charter flight to bring them back to their homeland. 

The convicted pirates were among a group of 120 Somalis arrested during the peak of the East Africa piracy epidemic. Most of them were captured by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard off the Lakshadweep Islands, over 1,000 nm to the east of Somali waters. In a series of actions from January to March 2011, Indian units deterred ongoing attacks on the region's merchant shipping, capturing scores of pirates and freeing more than 50 hostages aboard pirate mother ships. 

These pirates were taken to the Indian mainland and imprisoned pending trial. Three died in jail, and last year, the remaining 117 suspects were sentenced to time served followed by deportation. All are scheduled to be sent back to Somalia by the end of next month. "Another 76 will be released in two batches on February 15 and 23 and will be sent back to their home country,” said lawyer Vishwajeet Singh, their appointed representative, speaking to the Mumbai Mirror. 

"The offenders have been given a lesson that in India there is rule of law and that the offenders are brought to justice," special public prosecutor Ranjeet Sangle told the Times of India at the time of the sentencing. "From 2011, since the pirates were arrested, the entire piracy operation in the western waters of India has come down."

[Top image: Position of the attack on the Valbella, LSS-SAPU]