Eat lead, fellas:
An Indian warship has exchanged fire with a pirate “mother vessel” off the hijacking-plagued Horn of Africa, leaving the ship ablaze in the Gulf of Aden, an official said Wednesday.
The skirmish took place Tuesday evening about 525 kilometers southwest of Oman’s Salalah port when the frigate INS Tabar spotted a suspected pirate ship with two speedboats in tow, India’s Defense Ministry reported.
“This vessel was similar in description to the ‘Mother Vessel’ mentioned in various piracy bulletins,” the ministry said in a written statement.
The battle follows a recent surge in piracy off the Horn of Africa, including the weekend hijacking of a Saudi-owned supertanker by pirates based in largely lawless Somalia.
Three other vessels have been captured since then in what a London-based maritime official called a “completely unprecedented” situation.
When the Tabar’s crew hailed the ship and demanded it stop for inspection, the pirates threatened to destroy the Indian ship, the ministry reported.
“Pirates were seen roaming on the upper deck of this vessel with guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers. The vessel continued its threatening calls and subsequently fired upon INS Tabar,” the ministry said.
The Indian frigate returned fire, setting the pirate ship ablaze and setting off explosions on board, the statement said. Two speedboats in tow behind the ship fled; one was found abandoned after a pursuit by the Tabar.
Maybe the Saudi tanker was unarmed (in which case they’re stupid); maybe they didn’t want to fire upon fellow Muslims (in which case they’re stupid). But this is how you treat any unmarked boat that approaches you in these waters.