Man says pirate ship was his trawler

Nov. 25, 2008 at 9:54 AM
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NEW DELHI, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- A ship sunk by the Indian navy as a pirate vessel actually was a trawler out of Thailand, the boat's owner said Tuesday.

Sixteen sailors were aboard Ekawat Nava 5 when it was sunk by the Indian navy last week -- one crew member was found alive after six days adrift in the Gulf of Aden, one was confirmed dead and the rest are missing, CNN reported.

India's navy reported last week the INS Tabar fought with a pirate "mother vessel" in the gulf Nov. 18, setting the ship afire leaving it to sink. However, Wicharn Sirichaiekawat, owner of the vessel, said the ship was a trawler he owned and it was being hijacked by pirates when it came under naval attack, CNN said.

Indian authorities said that their ship took action against the vessel because it threatened to attack the Tabar.

"We fired in self-defense and in response to firing upon our vessel. It was a pirate vessel in the international waters and its stance was aggressive," Indian naval spokesman Commodore Nirad Sinhatold CNN.

Wicharn said the vessel was traveling from Oman to Yemen to deliver fishing equipment when pirates boarded it off the Horn of Africa.

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