Indian Navy ships free hijacked Iranian fishing vessel off Somalia, rescue Pakistani nationals – The Hindu

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Indian Naval ships Sumedha and Trishul intercepted and freed a hijacked Iranian fishing vessel (FV), Al-Kambar, off Somalia after forcing the pirates to surrender, the Navy said late on March 29.

“After more than 12 hours of intense coercive tactical measures as per the Standard Operating Procedures, the pirates on board hijacked FV were forced to surrender. The crew, comprising 23 Pakistani nationals, have been safely rescued,” a Navy spokesperson said. “Indian Naval specialist teams are presently undertaking thorough sanitisation and seaworthiness checks of the FV in order to escort her to a safe area for resuming normal fishing activities.”

Al-Kambar was approximately 90 nautical miles southwest of Socotra when it was reportedly boarded by nine armed pirates, according to the Indian Navy. The spokesperson said that based on the inputs of a potential piracy incident on March 28, two Indian Naval ships deployed in Arabian Sea for maritime security operations, were diverted. INS Sumedha intercepted Al-Kambar during the early hours of March 29 and was joined subsequently by guided missile frigate INS Trishul.

This is the latest in a series of incidents of piracy in the Arabian Sea and off Somalia in the last few months which have resurfaced since the beginning of attacks on commercial shipping by Houthi rebels.

As reported by The Hindu earlier this week, the pirate mother vessel that was used to hijack Malta-flagged merchant vessel MV Ruen on December 14 was itself an Iranian fishing vessel. Al-Ashkaan with 24 Pakistani crew members was hijacked by seven Somali pirates earlier on November 29 near Socotra Island off Yemen. Al Ashkaan was taken to Somalia and later used to hijack Ruen after which Al Ashkaan was set free.

Ruen was converted into a mother vessel and attempted further acts of piracy which were thwarted by the Indian Navy earlier this month after a 40-hour operation which resulted in the surrender of 35 pirates and freeing of 17 original crew members of MV Ruen.

Currently, another vessel remains in captivity of Somali pirates — Bangladeshi-flagged cargo vessel Al Abdullah that was hijacked around March 12 while it was en route from Mozambique to the United Arab Emirates. The vessel with an all-Bangladeshi crew has been taken to Somalia.

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