Anti-Piracy Bill to provide strong legal support to Navy’s efforts: Navy Chief

New Delhi, Dec.3: Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral D.K. Joshi on Tuesday said that the Indian Navy has been able to contain a wide array of non-conventional challenges, including piracy.

He said that the passage of Anti-Piracy Bill is under the Parliament’s consideration, and it is expected to provide stronger legal support to Navy’s efforts.

“With sustained deployments, pro-active strategy and effective operations, we have been able to contain a wide array of non-conventional challenges, including piracy in our areas of interest,’ he told media here today.

“Piracy in Gulf of Aden and off Somalia is now on the decline, but our efforts will continue in the foreseeable future,” he added.

He further said that adverse fallout of piracy of serious concern is the largely unregulated carriage of armed guards on board merchant ships.

“There are close to 140 Private Security Companies operating in North Indian Ocean, which hire out Privately Contracted Armed Security Personnel (PCASP),” he said.

“These personnel shift between vessels at sea, without entering any port or coastal state regulated maritime territory. There are scores of ships operating as floating armouries, outside any coastal state jurisdiction,” he added.

Giving example of the recent apprehension of ‘MV Seaman Guard Ohio’ off Tuticorin, Admiral Joshi said that lack of any provisions to deal with such vessels or armed personnel hampers legal actions.

“We have recommended that this necessitates formulation of a regulatory framework by the International Maritime Organization (IMO),” he added.

Earlier on Oct er 18, the Tamil Nadu Police arrested 35 crew members of the detained U.S. ship for failing to produce papers authorizing the vessel to carry weapons and ammunitions in Indian waters.

The detained vessel had been identified as M.V. Seaman Guard Ohio and was intercepted and detained by the Indian Coast Guard about 15 nautical miles east of Tuticorin on Oct er 12.

Media reports also claim that the detained vessel had 10 crew members, comprising of two Ukranians and eight Indians. The vessel also has 25 security guards, of which six are British, fourteen Estonian, one Ukranian and four Indians. (ANI)