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MARCOs conduct rescue ops on hijacked ship in Arabian sea | Who are Indian Navy's elite commandos?

The Marine commandos of the Indian Navy rescued 21 crew members from the hijacked ship in the Arabian Sea. The force said that all of the rescued members, which also included 15 Indians, were safe. Know all about the elite commandos of the Indian Navy.

Ashesh Mallick Edited By: Ashesh Mallick @asheshmallick07 New Delhi Updated on: January 06, 2024 11:29 IST
Indian Navy, MARCOs, Who are Marcos, Indian Navy hijack situation
Image Source : PTI Marine Commandos of the Indian Navy

Indian Navy: Marine commandos of the Indian Navy, known as MARCOs, executed a successful search and rescue operation after SOS call regarding the hijacking of the cargo ship 'MV Lila Norfolk' on Friday (January 5) near the coast of Somalia. The commandos rescued 21 crew members, including 15 Indians, on the 84,000-tonne bulk carrier. The Navy deployed a warship, maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters and Predator MQ9B drones to conduct the operation. MARCOs were onboard Indian Naval Ship INS Chennai.

However, no pirates were found onboard.

What did the Navy say?

“Indian Navy swiftly responded to the hijacking incident onboard Liberian flagged Bulk Carrier MV Lila Norfolk deploying considerable strength of assets (both ships and aircraft) and an aggressive intent to counter-attack by pirates. INS Chennai guided-missile destroyer arrived at the scene of action by 1515h. Continuous aerial recce of MV Lila Norfolk was undertaken by MQ9B (Sea Guardian), P8I and integral helicopters. Subsequently, the Indian Navy Marine Commandos boarded MV Lila Norfolk and undertook thorough sanitisation of the upper decks, machinery compartments and living spaces. The team did not find any pirates onboard. Forceful warnings by the Indian Naval aircraft to the vessel and likely interception by IN warship, probably compelled the pirates to escape during the night hours," Indian Navy said in a statement

"All 21 crew of MV Lila Norfolk have been rescued and are safe. Indian Naval forces are investigating the suspected vessels in the area. Presently, the crew of MV is engaged in restoring propulsion, power supply and steering gear. Thereafter, MV Lila Norfolk will recommence her passage to her destination under escort of the Indian Naval Warship,” it added.

India Tv - Indian Navy, Indian Navy warship, Arabian sea

Image Source : PTIMarine Commandos of the Indian Navy during simulated hostage rescue operation

Who are the MARCOs?

  1. An elite force of the Indian Navy, MARCOs, officially called Marine Commando Force, was raised in 1987 as the Indian Marine Special Force. They are trained and can carry out a strike in the cover of darkness and adopt various tactics to reach and eliminate the targets without being detected.
  2. The Indian Navy protects the trade routes that pass through the Arabian sea, the Persian Gulf, and Somalia. MARCOs are among the toughest soldiers who undergo rigorous training to carry out massive operations swiftly.
  3. MARCOs show dominance at sea and in air and on land where they can conduct attacks against enemy ships and execute anti-terror operations in the maritime domain.
  4. They are capable of infiltrating territories using airborne raids, helicopter attacks and sea landings. A commando has more pace and fights harder than any other soldier. They are equipped with the most lethal weapon system and protective gears only as a cover, besides possessing unmatchable courage and brilliant minds.
  5. MARCOs have motto of ‘The few The fearless’, and have shown valour during their involvement in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. According to a report in the MyGov, the MARCOs also assisted in the initial stages of the Taj hotel attack in Mumbai in 2008. 
  6. They have also been recognised for their performances in Cyclone operations. The commanders also performed a significant operation during the late 1980s, known as ‘Operation Pawan’ amid the Sri Lankan Civil War.

Rescued crew members chant 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'

The rescued crew members thanked the Indian Navy for the rescue operation and chanted 'Bharat Mata ki Jai'.

ALSO READ | All crew, including 15 Indians, onboard hijacked vessel MV Lila Norfolk rescued by Indian Navy


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