Freeing of hijacked Japan ship by India to be recreated

Chennai, Jan 10 (IANS) The Indian and Japan coast guards would recreate the freeing in 1999 of a hijacked Japanese ship by Indian personnel, on the day of the Pongal festival on January 15, officials said on Sunday.

Though the vessel that was hijacked was different from the one that will be participating in the exercise named “Sahyog-Kaijin-XV”, it will be a sort of recreation of what happened in 1999, an official told IANS.

According to a statement issued by the Indian Coast Guard, the association between the coastal security forces of the two nations dates back to 1999, when for the first time in maritime history a pirated ship was freed.

Japanese flagged ship MV Alondra Rainbow was hijacked by pirates off Indonesia and was repainted and renamed MV Mega Rama.

The vessel was sighted off Kochi, and freed by the Indian Coast Guard in the Arabian Sea after a hot chase.

The Indian Coast Guard said the joint exercise will be held in the Bay of Bengal off Chennai which would help in strengthening the working-level relationship between the two coastal security forces and refine joint operating procedures.

Japan coast guard ship Echigo will be visiting here during January 11-16.

According to the Indian Coast Guard, the highlight of the exercise would be the scenario of hijacking of a merchant vessel and its subsequent rescue in a combined operation.

Helicopters of the Indian Coast Guard will be operated from the Japanese ship and vice versa, while there will also be cross-deck landing, interdiction of the pirate vessel, cross-boarding, steam-past and external firefighting.

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