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Delhi concerned: Trained Pak men 'guiding' pirates off Somalia coast

Delhi concerned: Trained Pak men 'guiding' pirates off Somalia coast

Author: Pranab Dhal Samanta
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: September 1, 2009
URL: http://www.indianexpress.com/news/delhi-concerned-trained-pak-men-guiding-pirates.../509760/

Authorities have confirmed the first case of alleged Pakistani involvement with Somali pirates in a revelation that has raised concerns here about a possible link between piracy and suspected terrorist groups.

On April 28, a Russian warship apprehended 12 Pak nationals - along with Somali pirates - for attempting to attack a tanker off Somalia's coast.

An investigation, sources said, pointed to Pak nationals having played a 'lead' role. Their nationality was confirmed through identity cards and "evidence" was handed over on May 8 to MSS Rehmat, a Pakistan Maritime Security Agency ship, 12 miles of Gwadar.

It's being examined by Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency.

Pak first claimed that these men were fishermen but three months on, there is no word on the probe.

India has two warships in the Gulf of Aden.

The incident occurred when Russian warship Admiral Panteleyev received a distress call 120 km east of Somalia's coast from a tanker Bulwai Bank, registered in Antigua, en route to Singapore. The tanker was under attack from Somali pirates. Russian commandos intervened and foiled the attempt. They found that the pirates' speedboats were being guided from another mother vessel.

Tracking its coordinates, the Russians apprehended this vessel 10 miles off the coast.

This was a captured Iranian trawler. Its captain was Mohammed Zamal, a Pak national, who was communicating with the pirates via a satphone he threw overboard when Russians boarded the vessel.

There were 29 people on board of whom 12 were Pakistanis, including the captain; 11 were Somalis while six were Iranians taken hostage.

Seven Kalashnikov guns and handguns were recovered. Sources said Russian investigators found that the Pak nationals were quite well-trained and familiar with military and naval tactics.

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