Malaysian warship scares off Somali pirates: watchdog

A Malaysian warship has helped Indian seamen fight off heavily-armed Somali pirates attempting to board an oil tanker, a maritime watchdog said.

It was the second time the Malaysian navy has fought off pirates in the Gulf of Aden, after it successfully repelled a group who boarded a Chinese commercial vessel on December 18. The Indian-flagged ship was heading west towards the Suez Canal when it was attacked by pirates in two skiffs at 03:37 GMT Thursday, said Noel Choong, head of the International Maritime Board’s piracy reporting centre. The master of the ship said that seven pirates in one of the skiffs were dressed in military-type uniform. Choong said Malaysian navy vessel KD Inderasakti, which was leading a convoy of ships about 15 nautical miles away, responded to the tanker’s distress call by launching a helicopter and steaming towards the vessel under attack. “The pirates on noticing the helicopter stopped firing at the tanker and escaped,” he said. Choong said the Indian tanker then followed the Malaysian warship’s convoy. He said none of the crew were injured but the ship’s radar system had been damaged in the hail of bullets.

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