New Delhi: The Indian Navy’s patrol vessel INS Sumitra has successfully rescued a hijacked fishing vessel, Al Naemi, with 19 Pakistani nationals onboard from Somali pirates in a major anti-piracy operation. The incident took place off the east coast of Somalia, where the vessel was attacked by 11 Somali pirates, the Navy said in a statement on Tuesday.
This is the second fishing vessel rescued by the same Indian Navy warship in the Arabian Sea within 36 hours. Earlier this week, INS Sumitra rescued an Iranian fishing vessel, Iman, and its 17 crew members, as India Sentinels had reported.
In the latest incident, the Navy responded to the distress call and pressed INS Sumitra into action, which intercepted the fishing vessel. The Navy said through coercive posturing and effective deployment of her integral helicopter and boats, INS Sumitra compelled the safe release of the crew and the vessel. It also said the successful rescue of the hijacked vessel by the warship in the Arabian Sea, approximately 850 nautical miles (around 978 miles or 1574 kilometres) west of Kochi, will also act as a deterrent for pirates to fishing vessels as mother ships for further acts of piracy on merchant vessels.
Following their successful rescue, the 19 Pakistani and 17 Iranian crew have thanked the Indian Navy for saving them from Somali pirates in recent days. The Indian Navy has released a video of the anti-piracy operation and how they saved the crew members and captured the hijackers.
The Indian Navy has been deployed continuously off Somalia since 2008, but in December sent a far larger force, including three guided-missile destroyers and P-8I reconnaissance aircraft to “maintain a deterrent presence” in the wake of the Houthi group Ansar Allah’s attacks on Israel-linked commercial vessels, which has encouraged the Somali pirates to make a comeback after a hiatus of around six years.
#IndianNavy remains committed to #MaritimeSecurity in the #IndianOceanRegion, in keeping with @PMOIndia's vision of #SAGAR.— SpokespersonNavy (@indiannavy) January 31, 2024
Indian Naval warships mission deployed in the #IOR are ensuring security against all #maritime threats, keeping our seas safe for mariners of all… pic.twitter.com/n2dAOg6jw6