Concerned over piracy off the Somali coast in the Gulf of Aden, India is readying an initial 100-man team to protect its merchant vessels in the area.
The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) will take on the responsibility of securing the merchant vessels, under a proposal mooted by the ministry of shipping and, as a pilot project, will train 100 of its personnel for the purpose, a government source told IANS.
Currently, Indian Navy ships, among those from other nations, are deployed on escort duties for all vessels in the Gulf of Aden region but it has been felt that specific steps needed to be taken to ensure the security of Indian vessels.
According to IANS, Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan had recently made known to parliament the proposal to deploy armed guards on board merchant ships.
Initially, the CISF intends to post five personnel, including an officer, on board a cargo vessel.