Indian Navy rescues Pakistani fishermen from Somali pirates

Piracy on the rise amid chaos caused by Houthi attacks on shipping in Red Sea and Gulf of Aden

Indian Navy commandos with captured hijackers believed to be Somalian pirates on Tuesday. Photo: Indian Navy
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The Indian Navy on Tuesday said one of its patrol vessels had intercepted an Iranian-flagged fishing vessel that had been hijacked by suspected pirates off the eastern coast of Somalia.

The incident reportedly took place 36 hours after the same Indian ship had rescued another Iranian fishing boat from pirates.

The INS Sumitra intercepted the Iranian-flagged Al Naeemi, which had been boarded by 11 Somalian pirates who had taken its crew of 19 – all from Pakistan – hostage, the navy said.

“Responding swiftly to the developing situation, Sumitra intercepted the FV on January 29 and through coercive posturing and effective deployment of her integral helicopter and boats, compelled the safe release of the crew and the vessel,” it added.

Somalian pirates are known for hijacking ships and using them to carry out further piracy on merchant vessels.

The navy praised the “swift, persistent and relentless efforts" of its vessels in the southern Arabian Sea to curb pirate attacks on fishing vessels.

Global shipping routes have been disrupted by tensions in the Red Sea, where Yemen's Houthi rebels have vowed to continue attacks against commercial ships in what they claim is retaliation for Israel's war in Gaza.

The US has formed Operation Prosperity Guardian to counter Houthi attacks in the Red Sea, which carries about 12 per cent of global trade.

India is not a participant in the initiative, but its navy has responded to an increase in attempted hijackings launched by pirates off the coast of Somalia.

Indian navy commandos boarded the Liberian-flagged merchant vessel Lila Norfolk in early January after it was ambushed by pirates off Somalia. All 21 crew members, including 15 Indian citizens, were rescued.

Updated: January 30, 2024, 11:21 AM