The Indian Navy rescues two hijacked ships off the coast of Somalia in two days

  • By Meryl Sebastian
  • BBC News, Kochi

image source, Indian Navy

image description,

The Indian Navy released a photo of its personnel with the captured hijackers

Indian naval forces have rescued two hijacked ships off the coast of Somalia as fears grow over a possible resurgence of piracy in the region.

The rescues by the warship INS Sumitra took place within 36 hours.

Just days earlier, the Seychelles Defense Forces reported that they had freed a group of fishermen from pirates.

The waters off the Somali coast were once a hotbed of piracy, but this has all but stopped after international forces stepped up patrols.

India, for example, has been continuously helping to patrol the area since 2008.

However, many of these naval forces have moved into the Red Sea, reports AFP news agency, where the Houthi rebel group based in Yemen has attacked ships. Experts now fear that the loophole will be exploited by pirates in the region, the news agency said.

The first successful hijacking in the region since 2017 took place last December, with Michael Howlett, director of the International Maritime Bureau, noting that it was “a cause for concern.”

However, Troels Burchall Henningsen, an associate professor at the Royal Danish Defense College, told the BBC that a full resurgence of previous highs was unlikely as recent attacks appeared opportunistic.

Attacks certainly appear to have increased in January. According to the Indian Navy, its ship responded to the distress message on January 28 and intercepted an Iranian-flagged vessel. Naval officers then “force.”[d] the pirates for the safe release of the crew along with the boat,” reads a post on X (formerly Twitter).

After the 17 crew members were released, the ship was disinfected and was able to continue its journey. The statement did not mention the status of the pirates.

Then, on Tuesday, two days later, the Navy said INS Sumitra was again “deployed into action to locate and intercept another Iranian-flagged fishing vessel Al Naeemi.”

Naval personnel boarded the ship to disinfect it and check the welfare of the crew, comprising 19 Pakistani sailors, it said.

The status of the pirates was not mentioned again, but a photo posted on X showed armed Marines guarding men with their hands tied behind their backs.

In early January, Indian Navy commandos rescued 21 crew members from a Liberian-flagged ship that was attacked by pirates off the Somali coast.

Meanwhile, Seychelles said its forces released six Sri Lankan fishermen on Saturday after they were held hostage for three days by gunmen who attacked them about 840 nautical miles (1,555 km) southeast of the Somali capital Mogadishu.

On January 26, the Indian Navy announced that it had deployed its warship INS Visakhapatnam to the Gulf of Aden in response to a distress call from Marlin Luanda, a tanker with ties to the United Kingdom, which was engulfed in flames for several hours after being sent by was hit by a rocket fired by the Houthis. French and US naval vessels also provided assistance to the ship.

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