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Naval commandos in action: Preparing for pirates

Updated April 17, 2014

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A Special Services Group - Navy man on the lookout for pirates. — Photo by author
A Special Services Group - Navy man on the lookout for pirates. — Photo by author
Lt Cmdr Mohammad Bilal. — Photo by author
Lt Cmdr Mohammad Bilal. — Photo by author
People posing with the commandos for photographs. — Photo by author
People posing with the commandos for photographs. — Photo by author
Photo by author
Photo by author
Special Services Group - Navy commandos. — Photo by author
Special Services Group - Navy commandos. — Photo by author
Photo by author
Photo by author

Imagine yourself on a luxury cruise liner. Imagine also some others wanting to be on that ship. And what if they are pirates?

“You can expect pirate trouble South of Yemen, near Somalia waters and just as you reach the Gulf of Aden,” says Lt Cmdr Mohammad Bilal, Principal War Officer (underwater) or PWO (U) on board the Pakistan Navy Ship (PNS) Khaibar.

The officer was briefing the media ahead of a Special Services Group - Navy (SSG-N) exercise to demonstrate naval commando action in case of a pirate attack.

“It is daylight right now so you can see the speed boat,” he points out a boat with a little Pakistan flag approaching the ship.

Video by Shazia Hasan

“But in the sea at night there is no visibility so you won't be able to see it heading your way. Still it is very much visible on the radar. A little dot heading in your direction,” he says.

“That's when we warn the approaching vessel through powerful lights and by trying to establish contact with it. It's fine if it doesn't come any nearer otherwise we engage it by opening fire,” he explains.

Suddenly, there is some commotion among the media personnel on the ship when someone notices two instead of one speed boat approaching while someone whispers: “the second one is not a part of the demonstration. It's the real thing!”

A black Sea King helicopter also approaches fast before taking its position overhead and throwing down a line through which six armed commandos slide down. Henceforth begins their quiet search for the pirates who are supposed to be hiding on the ship somewhere. It is understood that they would be caught soon as the misunderstanding about the second speed boat is also cleared.

There are cheers all round as all the guests on board shake hands with the commandos and pose with them for photographs.

Later, when one media person asks PNS Khaibar's Commanding Officer Capt Mohammad Faisal Abbasi about his brushes with pirates, the captain laughs, saying: “We are a battle ship, Sir. Pirates wouldn't dare come near battle ships.”