New Delhi, 30th January 2024: In a commendable display of maritime prowess, the Indian Navy successfully rescued 19 Pakistani crew members on board the fishing vessel Al Naeemi, which had fallen victim to Somali pirates in the Arabian Sea. The operation was executed by the Indian Navy’s warship INS Sumitra, marking its second successful anti-piracy mission in the region.
The rescue operation unfolded following the safe retrieval of the Iranian-flagged fishing vessel Iman, with 17 crew members, also from Somali pirates. INS Sumitra intercepted the vessel and adhered to established Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), compelling the pirates to release the crew and the boat unharmed.
After the successful operation with MV Iman, INS Sumitra promptly responded to another distress call involving the Iranian-flagged fishing vessel FV Iman, boarded by pirates. Through the effective deployment of its integral helicopter and boats, the warship secured the release of the 19 Pakistani crew members and the vessel from the clutches of 11 Somali pirates.
The Indian Navy underscored that these actions are crucial in preventing the misuse of fishing vessels as mother ships for further acts of piracy on merchant vessels. The Navy’s mission, located in the Southern Arabian Sea approximately 850 nautical miles west of Kochi, reflects its unwavering commitment to ensuring the safety of vessels and seafarers at sea.
This successful rescue operation follows recent incidents, including the extinguishing of a fire on a commercial oil tanker by INS Visakhapatnam and the thwarting of attempted hijackings in the North Arabian Sea. The Indian Navy has increased the deployment of its frontline ships and surveillance aircraft for maritime security operations in critical sea lanes, addressing challenges in the north and central Arabian Sea. The efforts showcase India’s dedication to maintaining stability and safeguarding maritime activities in the region.
What Are Somali Pirates?
Somali pirates, operating along the Horn of Africa, infamously hijack ships in the waters surrounding Somalia, the Gulf of Aden, and the Indian Ocean. Driven by economic motives, they demand ransoms for vessels and crews. Utilizing armed skiffs, pirates board and seize larger ships, impacting global shipping. International responses, legal actions, and increased security measures have curbed piracy, but sustained efforts are essential to address underlying causes and uphold maritime security.