Indian Naval Commandos nab 23 Somali pirates

New Delhi, Dec. 13: Commandos from an Indian warship today caught pirates in the act in the Gulf of Aden and took 23 of them into custody, a spokesperson at naval headquarters said.

Indian naval ship Mysore, a destroyer, picked up a distress call from merchant vessel Gibe, which flies an Ethiopian flag, when it was 13 nautical miles (about 24km) from the cargo ship. Details of what exactly happened are still awaited. 

The Gibe was about 150 nautical miles (about 277km) from Aden when the pirates, said to be in a dhow or fishing vessel named Salaluddin, fired at it and tried to board it, according to information available now.

Two speedboats suspected to be carrying more pirates were approaching the Gibe.

The navy spokesperson said marine commandos from the Mysore flew in the destroyer’s embarked helicopter, boarded the Salaluddin and caught 12 Somalis and 11 Yemenis.

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They also confiscated seven AK-47s, a 5.56mm and a 7.62mm rifles, a grenade launcher, three outboard motors (used to power dinghies or inflatable rafts), a handheld global positioning system and mobile phones. The pirates in the speedboats fled.

The Mysore is tasked to patrol a 480-nautical-mile corridor from Bab-el-Mandab in the west to the mouth of the Gulf of Aden. It is required to be in touch with merchant vessels within a 15-nautical-mile radius at all times.

Last month, marine commandos from INS Tabar were reported to have rescued two cargo vessels that were being attacked. Later, the Tabar fired at and sank a Thai trawler that the Indian Navy said was a pirate “mother vessel”.

The Mysore will eventually replace the Tabar in patrolling the Gulf of Aden and off the coast of Somalia. A much larger ship than the frigate, the Mysore was deployed because it is capable of staying out at sea longer without having to replenish frequently.

India’s Marine Commandos (MARCOS):

Officially known as the Indian Marine Special Force, the unit was raised in 1987 out of the naval divers to lead amphibious operations. The personnel volunteering for the force have to undergo a rigorous two-year training, by the end of which only 10-25 percent of the enrolled commandos remain.

Trained sky divers and sea divers, the Marcos can sabotage enemy vessels and harbour installations. They can operate in beaches, coastal, jungles and ravines areas.


Marcos have been active in Jammu and Kashmir as part of the army’s counter-terrorist efforts. Their main task is to control the infiltration of terrorists from across the border into Jammu and Kashmir through the Jhelum river and Wullar, a 65-square-km freshwater lake.

 Some Marcos personnel are also attached with the army special forces units conducting counter-terrorism operations in the area.

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On the other hand, it seems that their response to the Mumbai attacks were seriously hampered by the ridiculous levels of bureaucracy in India:

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