Navy rescues another vessel off Somali coast from pirates with Pak, Iranian crew
The navy has stepped up surveillance in and around the Arabian Sea substantially and deployed task groups consisting of around 10 warships in the face of rising threats including Houthi attacks and the resurgence of piracy
New Delhi: The Indian Navy on Friday said that it thwarted another piracy attempt off the Somali coast and rescued an Iranian-flagged fishing vessel (FV) and its crew of 11 Iranians and eight Pakistanis.
FV Omari was boarded by seven armed pirates who had taken the crew hostage.
“INS Sharda intercepted the vessel in the early hours of February 2 and used her integral helicopter and boats to coerce the pirates for the safe release of the crew along with the vessel,” the navy said in a statement.
This is the fourth vessel and crew set to be rescued by the navy from Somali pirates in and around the Arabian Sea this week.
It had earlier rescued Iranian-flagged boats FV Naeemi and FV Iman, the former carrying a carry of 19 Pakistanis and the latter 17 Iranians. The navy also helped rescue a Sri Lankan fishing trawler in a joint operation with the Seychelles Defence Forces and the Sri Lankan Navy.
Indian naval remotely piloted aircraft located FV Omari, and offshore patrol vessel INS Sharda, deployed for an anti-piracy mission in the region, was diverted to intercept the boat, the navy said.
“Relentless efforts by Indian naval platforms, mission deployed for anti-piracy and maritime security operations, continue to save precious lives at sea, symbolising Indian Navy’s resolve towards the safety of all vessels and seafarers at sea.”
The Indian Navy has been proactively engaging with the regional and extra-regional navies and maritime forces to promote maritime security in the region, minister of state for defence Ajay Bhatt said in Lok Sabha while responding to a question on the hijacking of vessels in the region.
“Since 2008, the Indian Navy has deployed units in the Gulf of Aden and east coast of Africa towards anti-piracy patrols. A total of 3,440 ships and over 25,000 seafarers have been safely escorted. For restoring maritime security in the region, enhanced presence of ships, aerial surveillance by maritime patrol aircraft/remotely piloted aircraft in the central Arabian Sea and off the east of the coast of Somalia is being undertaken by the Indian Navy,” he said.
The navy has stepped up surveillance in and around the Arabian Sea substantially and deployed task groups consisting of around 10 warships in the face of rising threats including Houthi attacks and the resurgence of piracy.
In response to another question on maritime security, Bhatt said, “Moreover, due to the ongoing maritime security situation in the region, Indian Navy units are being deployed off Djibouti/Gulf of Aden, in the north/central Arabian Sea/off east coast of Somalia for protection of merchant vessels/rendering assistance. In addition, information exchange/intelligence sharing is also being undertaken with friendly foreign countries to identify the source/reason/players involved in the attacks/incidents.”
P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft, Sea Guardian remotely piloted aircraft, Dorniers, helicopters and Coast Guard ships are part of the effort to strengthen security in the area.
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