An attack by Somali pirates on a Chinese cargo ship with 24 crew members on board in the Arabian Sea was successfully thwarted by Indian naval warships and aircraft, which forced the brigands to abandon the attempt and flee, an officer said on Friday. The operation was carried out by the Indian maritime forces in coordination with the NATO and Chinese task forces on anti-piracy patrol in the Indian Ocean region, the Indian Navy officer said.

The Chinese-owned bulk carrier, MV Full City, came under siege from the pirates at 8.45 a.m. on Thursday about 450 nautical miles (850 km) west of Karwar in Karnataka. The entire Chinese crew deftly locked themselves up in the merchant vessel's safe house, preventing their capture by the pirates, and sent out an emergency message.

On receiving the distress call, Indian Navy and Coast Guard ships patrolling in the vicinity rushed to its help, even as the navy's TU-142 maritime reconnaissance aircraft flew to the spot in 30 minutes and carried out several low passes over the merchant vessel, warning the pirates to abandon their attempt to hijack the Panama-flagged vessel. 


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