The Indian Navy’s warship INS Sumitra has conducted two successful anti-piracy operations within 36 hours, rescuing crew members from hijacked Iranian-flagged fishing vessels off the east coast of Somalia.
This began when INS Sumitra responded to a distress call on January 28, intercepting an Iranian-flagged fishing vessel named FV Iman.
The vessel had fallen prey to Somali pirates, who had hijacked it and taken the 17-member Iranian crew hostage.
The Indian Navy deployed its integral helicopter and boats, employing coercive posturing to compel the safe release of the crew and the vessel.
Following this successful operation, the FV Iman was sanitized and allowed to continue its journey, leaving the pirates’ status unmentioned.
36 hours later, on January 29, INS Sumitra was again pressed into action, this time to rescue 19 Pakistani sailors from the fishing vessel Al Naeemi.
The vessel had been hijacked by 11 armed Somali pirates, the second anti-piracy operation in less than two days.
The Indian Navy, responding to the distress situation, intercepted the Al Naeemi and, through coercive posturing and effective deployment of resources, secured the safe release of the Pakistani crew and the vessel.
The operations shows the importance of the region, specifically the east coast of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, where the Indian Navy has been engaged in maritime security operations.
The area has seen an increase in distress calls from vessels, concerns about a resurgence of piracy. The Indian Navy’s stance in deploying warships for anti-piracy patrols underlines its commitment to ensuring the safety of mariners and vessels in these waters.
Analysts attribute the increase in pirate activities to the disruption in maritime security caused by attacks on ships in the Red Sea by the Houthis, an Iran-backed rebel group.
The attacks in the Red Sea have diverted international naval forces northward, creating a security gap in the Gulf of Aden and the southern Arabian Sea.
The operations also shows the collaborative efforts among international naval forces to combat maritime threats.
The Indian Navy’s deployment of INS Visakhapatnam in response to a distress call from Marlin Luanda, a tanker with links to the UK, underlines the need for coordinated actions to address challenges in the maritime domain.
French and US naval ships also provided assistance in the mentioned incident, addressing the collective responsibility of nations in ensuring maritime security.
Piracy pose a direct threat to the lives of sailors but also disrupts global trade routes, impacting the world economy.
The successful anti-piracy operations by the Indian Navy contribute to the efforts to maintain the freedom of navigation and secure vital sea lanes.