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Indian Navy's bold Red Sea missions: Confronting pirates in the Arabian waters

Written by  Annesha Barua -- March 31st 2024 11:19 AM
Indian Navy's bold Red Sea missions: Confronting pirates in the Arabian waters

Indian Navy's bold Red Sea missions: Confronting pirates in the Arabian waters

PTC News Desk: Operation Sankalp, launched in response to attacks on merchant ships in the Gulf of Oman in June 2019, has seen the Indian Navy undertake 18 rescue operations in the Arabian Sea since mid-December.

Responding to incidents from December 2023 to March 2024, the Navy has played a crucial role as both the "first responder" and the "preferred security partner" in the Indian Ocean Region. During this period, the Navy's intervention was instrumental in assisting several nations, as the threat of pirate attacks along this vital trade route was further exacerbated by drone and missile strikes.


Navy's daring operation: Securing a pirate mother ship

In a daring operation, the Indian Navy successfully secured a Malta-flagged cargo vessel, the MV Ruen, which had been hijacked by Somali pirates on December 14, 2023. The vessel, carrying an SOS from its crew, was tracked by the Navy in the Arabian Sea after reports indicated that six pirates had unlawfully boarded it.

Deploying a warship on anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden, the Navy swiftly initiated a rescue operation upon learning that a crew member had been injured. Within four days, the injured sailor was evacuated from the vessel and flown to Oman for medical treatment. However, the pirates managed to gain control of the MV Ruen and redirected it towards the Somali coast.

Subsequently, the Navy intensified its presence in the Gulf of Aden and the northern Arabian Sea, collaborating with naval forces from various countries to safeguard the route from Yemen's Houthi rebels. Employing continuous surveillance activities, utilizing aerial platforms and vessels, the Navy diligently monitored the region.

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Three months after the hijacking, on March 14, 2024, the MV Ruen, now converted into a pirate mothership, was located off the Somali coast, thanks to information provided by the British maritime security firm Ambrey. The Indian Navy swiftly rerouted its warship, INS Kolkata, which sailed over 2,600 kilometers to intercept the vessel.

After a tense standoff, lasting forty hours, INS Kolkata, aided by INS Subhadra, HALE RPA drones, and P8I maritime patrol aircraft, successfully forced 35 Somali pirates to surrender. In a meticulously coordinated effort, a squad of eight marine commandos (MARCOS PRAHARs) was airdropped onto the vessel by a C-17 aircraft to detain the pirates and ensure the safe evacuation of the crew. Remarkably, no injuries were reported during the audacious operation.

The successful resolution of this high-stakes operation highlights the Indian Navy's unwavering commitment to maritime security and its capability to respond swiftly and decisively to threats in the region.

Indian Navy rescues Pakistani nationals from hijacked Iranian fishing vessel

Following the successful operation by INS Kolkata, the Indian Navy once again demonstrated its commitment to maritime security by rescuing 23 Pakistani nationals from the hijacked Iranian fishing vessel "Al-Kambar 786." In the early hours of March 29, INS Sumedha intercepted the distressed fishing vessel, which had sent out a distress call on March 28, approximately 90 nautical miles southwest of Socotra, an island of Yemen in the Indian Ocean. The vessel had reportedly been boarded by nine armed pirates.

Upon interception, INS Trishul joined INS Sumedha to provide support. After more than 12 hours of intense coercive tactical measures, the Navy successfully compelled the pirates to surrender. All 23 Pakistani nationals aboard the hijacked vessel were safely rescued.

This rescue operation marks yet another instance of the Indian Navy's unwavering commitment to maritime security and humanitarian assistance. In the span of 100 days starting from December 14, 2023, the Navy has saved a total of 110 lives, including 45 Indians. During this period, the Navy responded to over 90 maritime incidents, including 57 drone or missile attacks or sightings, as well as 39 incidents involving piracy, hijacking, and suspicious approaches, underscoring the challenges and complexities faced in ensuring maritime safety and security in the region.

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(Inputs from agencies)

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