The Indian Navy on Tuesday said that its offshore patrol vessel INS Sumitra rescued an Iranian-flagged fishing vessel (FV) hijacked by armed pirates off the Somali coast, the second such action in the last 24 hours in the Arabian Sea where the security situation has deteriorated significantly due to the resurgence of piracy, and missile and drone attacks by Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
FV Al Naeemi, the second Iranian-flagged vessel to be rescued by INS Sumitra, was carrying a crew of 19 Pakistani nationals.
“INS Sumitra, having thwarted the piracy attempt on FV Iman, carried out yet another successful anti-piracy operation off the east coast of Somalia, rescuing FV Al Naeemi and her crew of 19 Pakistani nationals from 11 Somali pirates,” the navy said in a statement.
The Indian warship had on January 28 responded to a distress call from FV Iman, intercepted it and rescued the boat and its crew of 17 Iranians from Somali pirates.
“INS Sumitra was again pressed into action to locate and intercept another Iranian-flagged FV Al Naeemi, which had been boarded by pirates and her crew taken hostage. Responding swiftly, Sumitra intercepted the vessel on January 29 evening and through coercive posturing and effective deployment of her integral helicopter and boats compelled the safe release of the crew and the vessel,” the statement said.
The two rescue missions involved the elite marine commandos.
The navy also undertook confirmatory boarding to sanitise the vessel as well as check on the well-being of the crew.
Somali pirates are known to hijack fishing vessels and use them as mother ships to carry out attacks on merchant ships.