Indian Navy to bring captured pirates from MV Ruen in mainland for prosecution

Team India Sentinels Monday 18th of March 2024 05:08 PM

The Somali pirates are forced to sit together on MV Ruen while a Navy chopper keep watch after the successful MARCOS raid to free the ship. (Photo: Indian Navy)

New Delhi: The Indian Navy is set to bring a group of Somali pirates apprehended during a recent operation to free the Malta-flagged merchant ship MV Ruen to Indian soil for prosecution. This move comes after the successful capture of the pirates, on Saturday, who had hijacked the ship in December 2023.

Piracy off the coast of Somalia has plagued international shipping for years. The Navy plays a crucial role in patrolling the Indian Ocean Region as part of its anti-piracy efforts. In this instance, a 40-hour-long operation, around 1,400 nautical miles (around 2,600 kilometres) off the nearest Indian coast in western IOR, led to the capture of 35 pirates, as India Sentinels had reported.

The Navy’s MARCOS frogmen in rubber speedboats near the MV Ruen during its operation to free the ship of pirates while a Navy chopper keeps watch from air. (Photo: Indian Navy) 

The Navy said the pirates had intended to use the hijacked MV Ruen as a “mother ship” to launch attacks on other commercial vessels plying in the region.

The decision to prosecute the pirates in India marks a significant development. Previously, captured pirates were often handed over to authorities in neighbouring countries or released after negotiations. This approach, however, raised concerns about the pirates’ potential to reoffend as an act of vengeance.

A speedboat carrying MARCOS frogmen approaching MV Ruen during the anti-piracy operation. (Photo: Indian Navy)  

The Indian government’s decision is likely linked to the recently enacted Maritime Anti-Piracy Act of 2023. This legislation provides a legal framework for prosecuting piracy-related acts within India’s jurisdiction. The law also provides for the death penalty in “exceptional cases”.

However, legal experts caution that prosecuting pirates in India could be a complex process. Gathering evidence, ensuring fair trials, and navigating international legal considerations are some potential hurdles. Additionally, some argue that prosecuting pirates in India might strain resources and create logistical challenges.

The captured Somali pirates on board the MV Ruen. (Photo: Indian Navy)  

Despite these concerns, the Navy’s operation, and the government’s decision to prosecute the pirates in India signal a strong stance against piracy. This move could set a precedent and encourage other regional players to work together for a safer maritime environment in the IOR.


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