Known as the Battle off Minicoy Island was an operation carried out by Indian Naval Forces in 2011 under the command of Arun Bahuguna (Marine Commando, CO INS Cankarso) to intercept a pirate “mother-ship” who has successfully intercepted the Thai-flagged pirated trawler, Prantalay-14.
It all started on 28 January, in the early morning Indian Coast Guard Dornier aircraft on a routine patrol detected two skiffs and the Prantalay 14 chasing the Bahamian container ship MV Verdi 300 miles west of the Lakshadweep Islands. As soon as the skiffs spotted the aircraft they sailed back to Prantalay 14. The aircraft reported the sighting and three Indian Navy ships were dispatched, including the 325-ton INS Cankarso. A Car Nicobar fast attack craft under the command of Commander Arun Bahuguna.
After spotting the Prantalay 14, The Cankarso‘s radioman tried to contact the pirates but was ignored, so a warning shot was fired towards the pirates, who returned fire with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s. The fire commenced and lasted for twelve hours before shots from the CRN 9 heavily damaged the trawler.
At that point, Prantalay 14 caught fire and started to burn causing the survivors as well as the pirates to abandon the ship and jump in the water. Thirty-five men went into the water, of whom fifteen were pirates and twenty were Thai and Myanmar sailors who were taken as a hostage while capturing Prantalay 14.
Ten pirates were killed in the engagement, and the rest were taken to Mumbai in the Cankarso as prisoners. The pirates were charged with attempt to murder and various other provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Foreigners Act after entering national waters without authorization. Prantalay 14 for hours before sinking into the sea.
Despite the discernible hail of bullets Commander Arun Bahuguna, remained on the Bridge of his ship providing very visible and hence inspirational leadership to his officers and men. Personally supervising, directing and controlling the warship’s firing. He displayed exceptional “courage and initiative” in the face of great danger and is awarded “Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry)”.
Here is a video which shows Indian Naval Forces capturing 26 Somali Pirates –