Indian Navy’s Heroic Rescue of MV Lila Norfolk : Dr.Anil Sharma
The Owner of the Ship MV Lila Norfolk Dr.Anil Sharma expressed deep gratitude towards Indian Navy for rescuing the ship and crew members safely, he told that “Indian Navy have done remarkable and courageous operation against pirates”.
The Indian Navy’s swift and commendable response to the hijack attempt on the Liberian-flagged cargo ship MV Lila Norfolk by Somali pirates has earned widespread applause from the global shipping community. This incident, occurring against the backdrop of heightened attacks by Houthi militants in the Red Sea, underscores the challenges faced by commercial ships navigating these perilous waters.
Hijack Attempt off the Coast of Somalia
MV Lila Norfolk, owned by Lila Global, a prominent dry bulk and tanker shipping company, was enroute from Port Du Aco (Brazil) to Khalifa Bin Salman in Bahrain when pirates targeted it off the coast of Somalia. The vessel, carrying 21 crew members, including 15 Indians, sent out an alert via the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) portal on the evening of January 4. The distress call reported the presence of five to six armed individuals attempting to board the ship.
In a swift and coordinated response, the Indian Navy deployed the INS Chennai, maritime patrol aircraft P-8I, and the long-range Predator MQ9B drone to thwart the hijack attempt and rescue the crew.
Lila Global: A Key Player in the Shipping Industry
MV Lila Norfolk is part of the fleet owned by Lila Global, the shipping arm of Dubai-based Global Marketing Systems Inc (GMS). Dr. Anil Sharma, an Indian-born visionary, founded GMS, and his leadership has garnered international recognition. In December, Dr. Sharma was named in the prestigious ‘Lloyd’s List Top 100 Most Influential People in Shipping Industry’ for the 14th consecutive year. This remarkable feat makes him the only individual of Indian origin consistently recognized since 2010. Dr. Sharma’s brother Komlkant Sharma is key player at Alang Ship Recycling Yard with having major stack and laid down ultra modern facilities at all LEELA Group’s Yards at Alang.
Lloyd’s List, a venerable maritime publication, acknowledges key figures who significantly impact the maritime world. Dr. Sharma’s enduring influence places him among a select group of seven individuals worldwide consistently featured in all 14 editions of the list. This accolade highlights his leadership and lasting impact on the global maritime sector.
Advocacy for Sustainable Ship Recycling Practices
Dr. Anil Sharma’s leadership extends beyond GMS to Lila Global, where his focus is on enhancing the efficiency of mid-life ships. Under his guidance, GMS has played a pivotal role in advocating for and implementing sustainable ship recycling practices. Notably, Dr. Sharma’s efforts were instrumental in the ratification of the Hong Kong Convention (HKC) across the Indian sub-continent.
The HKC, adopted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), is a crucial international treaty that sets global standards for safe and environmentally-sound ship recycling. After 16 years of challenges, the convention is set to enter into force in June 2025, following ratification by Bangladesh and Liberia in 2023.
India’s Role in Global Ship Recycling
India, one of the world’s top five ship recycling nations, acceded to the HKC in November 2019. The treaty’s conditions for entry into force, including ratification by 15 maritime nations representing 40% of world merchant shipping by gross tonnage, and a combined annual ship recycling volume of at least 3%, have now been met with Bangladesh and Liberia’s actions in June 2023.
Dr. Anil Sharma’s contributions have been instrumental in positioning India as a key player in global ship recycling, aligning the country with international standards for environmental stewardship in the maritime industry.
Sustainable Practices and Leadership Philosophy
Dr. Sharma’s leadership philosophy, evident in both GMS and Lila Global, emphasizes extending the lifespan of vessels to align with broader environmental goals. His forward-thinking approach and commitment to sustainable practices position Lila Global as a trailblazer in the maritime industry.
Reflecting on his inclusion in the Lloyd’s List Top 100, Dr. Sharma emphasized the collaborative efforts of the teams at GMS and Lila Global. He sees the recognition as a celebration of the collective willpower and commitment to making a meaningful difference in the maritime sector.
From Academic Curiosity to Global Industry Influence
Dr. Anil Sharma’s journey began as an academic curiosity in the early 1990s when he, a professor in Maryland, followed the lifecycle of old U.S. Navy ships from the World War era. This curiosity evolved into GMS, now the world’s largest buyer of ships and offshore assets for recycling, showcasing Indian innovation and influence on a global stage.
A shipping industry executive noted, “Dr. Sharma’s story celebrates Indian innovation and influence in a global arena. It’s a narrative about perseverance, leadership, and the far-reaching impact of one individual’s contributions to a critical global industry.”
Anticipating a Dynamic Future
Looking ahead, GMS and Lila Global anticipate a dynamic year with a focus on sustainable ship recycling and responsible fleet management. Dr. Anil Sharma’s visionary leadership positions both companies at the forefront of the industry’s transformative journey.
“This recognition from Lloyd’s List is not about individual achievements but about the collaborative efforts to steer the industry towards a sustainable future,” remarked Dr. Sharma. The companies’ progressive approaches, combined with his foresight, set the stage for continued success and positive contributions to the maritime industry’s evolution.