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INS Sumitra Prevented Second Hijacking in 36 Hours, Rescued 19 Pakistani Crew Members

INS Sumitra Prevented Second Hijacking in 36 Hours, Rescued 19 Pakistani Crew Members

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NEW DELHI, Jan 30: In the second successful intervention within 36 hours and neutralising a hijack situation, Indian Navy’s offshore patrol vessel INS Sumitra, deployed in the Gulf of Aden, rescued Iranian-flagged Fishing Vessel Al Naeemi and her Crew of 19 Pakistani nationals from 11 Somali Pirates off the East Coast of Somalia.

In another incident, a coordinated multilateral response, between the Indian Navy, Seychelles Defence Forces and Sri Lanka Navy, succeeded in rescuing a Sri Lankan fishing trawler from being hijacked. .

INS Sumitra was pressed into action, to locate and intercept the Iranian flagged fishing vessel Al Naeemi, which had been boarded by pirates and her crew of 19 Pakistani nationals were taken hostage, the Navy said in a statement on Tuesday. “Responding swiftly to the developing situation Sumitra intercepted the latter on Monday and through coercive posturing and effective deployment of her integral helicopter and boats compelled the safe release of the crew and the vessel. The ship also undertook confirmatory boarding to sanitise and also to check on the well-being of the crew who were held captive by the Somali pirates.”

This incident came just after INS Sumitra prevented a hijack incident in the area on Sunday after responding to a distress message from an Iranian flagged fishing vessel Iman, with a crew of 17 Iranian nationals, which had been boarded by pirates and the crew taken hostage.

A hijacking incident was reported onboard the Sri Lankan flagged fishing trawler Lorenzo Putha 04 about 955 nm east of Mogadishu, Somalia, and three pirates had boarded and hijacked it on January 27. Indian Navy deployed INS Sharada from Kochi on Sunday afternoon and also tasked Sea Guardian High Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to locate and intercept the hijacked fishing vessel, it stated.

“Additionally, efficient operational coordination and Information Sharing through the Sri Lanka and Seychelles International Liaison Officers at Information Fusion Centre for Indian Ocean Region (IFC IOR), New Delhi resulted in the interception of the hijacked fishing vessel by SCGS Topaz in Seychelles Exclusive Economic Zone on Monday.” The three pirates surrendered to the Seychelles Coast Guard (SCG), all six crew members are safe and the vessel is being escorted to Mahe, Seychelles, the Navy said.

“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, and prevented misuse of these Vessels as Mother Ships for further acts of Piracy on Merchant Vessels,” the Navy added on the two incidents to which INS Sumitra responded.

The Gulf of Aden has seen a sudden spurt in piracy from Somalia in the last few months after going down completely from the peak around 2010. Indian Navy has maintained continuous presence in the area with at least one major warship deployed on anti-piracy duties since 2008.

(Manas Dasgupta)

 

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