Indian Navy Thwarts Somali Pirate Hijacking Attempt, Rescues All Crew Members from MV Lila Norfolk in North Arabian Sea

Mumbai, 5th January 2024: In a successful operation, the Indian Navy thwarted a hijacking attempt on MV Lila Norfolk in the North Arabian Sea, ensuring the safety of all 21 crew members, including 15 Indians. The crew members were safely evacuated from the citadel, and a comprehensive sanitization operation by MARCOs (Marine Commandos) confirmed the absence of hijacker personnel.

The pirates’ attempt to seize the vessel was effectively neutralized by the Indian Navy’s swift and forceful response. A powerful warning issued by an Indian Naval warship led to the likely abandonment of the hijacking plan by the pirates, with crucial support from the Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA), as confirmed by the Indian Navy.

At present, INS Chennai is strategically positioned near MV Lila Norfolk, extending support to restore power generation and propulsion systems. The naval vessel is actively involved in facilitating the safe continuation of MV Lila Norfolk’s journey to its next port of call.

The incident began when the Liberia-registered bulk carrier reported a boarding by 5 – 6 unauthorized armed personnel on the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) portal on the evening of 4th January 2024. Responding swiftly, the Indian Naval MPA was launched, establishing contact with the vessel. INS Chennai, a warship deployed on anti-piracy patrol, was promptly diverted for assistance, intercepting the MV Lila Norfolk at 3:15 pm.

This successful intervention by the Indian Navy underscores the effectiveness of their maritime security measures and the unwavering commitment to ensuring the safety of seafarers in the region. The collaborative efforts involving various units, including the MPA and INS Chennai, demonstrate the preparedness and proactive stance of the Indian Navy in countering maritime threats.

The crew’s safe evacuation and the neutralization of the hijacking attempt showcase the professionalism and dedication of the Indian Navy in safeguarding the vital maritime routes in the North Arabian Sea. The focus now shifts to ensuring the seamless resumption of MV Lila Norfolk’s journey under the protective vigilance of INS Chennai.