Indian navy rescues 19 Pakistan nationals from Somali pirates

Iranian-flagged vessel hijacked by pirates off east coast of Somalia

Shweta Sharma
Tuesday 30 January 2024 05:45 GMT
Indian Navy Rescues 19 Pakistani Crew Onboard Vessel Hijacked By Somali Pirates

An Indian Navy warship has rescued 19 Pakistani nationals after their fishing vessel was hijacked by pirates off the east coast of Somalia.

It was the second rescue operation carried out in the region by the Indian Navy in the space of just 36 hours, the navy said in a statement.

Indian warship INS Sumitra freed the Iranian-flagged fishing vessel FV Al Naeemi from 11 pirates, who had taken the Pakistani crew members hostage, on Monday.

The vessel was intercepted on Monday and the members of INS Sumitra used “coercive posturing” and deployment of boats to compel the pirates to release both the crew and the vessel, a navy spokesperson said on X, formerly Twitter.

Pictures released by the Indian Navy showed pirates armed with guns holding positions on the vessel while Pakistani crew members were still held hostage.

Another picture showed the pirates sitting in a line on the deck of the ship following their capture, as Indian Navy personnel stood behind them.

The second rescue mission comes a day after INS Sumitra responded to an SOS call by another Iranian-flagged fishing vessel, FV Iman, also hijacked by Somali pirates.

The vessel rescued 17 Iranian nationals in the early hours of Monday, a day after it was hijacked off the coast of the East of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden.

Somali pirate seen on Iranian-flagged vessel that was hijacked on Monday (Indian Navy)

“INS Sumitra, over the course of less than 36 hours, through swift, persistent and relentless efforts has rescued two hijacked Fishing Vessels along with 36 crew (17 Iranian and 19 Pakistani) in Southern Arabian Sea approximately 850 nm West of Kochi,” the navy said in a statement.

India has deployed a growing number of warships around the Red Sea and heightened surveillance to counter rebel attacks on commercial vessels amid growing tensions between Houthi groups as Israel’s war in Gaza caused a ripple effect in the sea.

But the South Asian country has steered clear of joining American and British warships taking part in counter-attacks against Houthi forces.

India has heavily used the trade route for its crude oil imports as Houthi rebels, a militia backed by Iran, targeted commercial vessels in retaliation over Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

Last week, a guided missile destroyer of the Indian Navy helped in fire fighting efforts on the British oil tanker, the Marlin Luanda, after it was targeted by Houthi rebels.

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