India Repatriates 35 Somali Pirates Following Operations Near Red Sea

India Repatriates 35 Somali Pirates Following Operations
India Piracy | World |

India Repatriates 35 Somali Pirates Following Operations Near Red Sea

NEW DELHI, March 23 (Reuters) – On Saturday, the Indian navy transferred 35 Somali pirates to Mumbai’s police custody, concluding 100 days of anti-piracy operations in the eastern part of the Red Sea. This region has witnessed a resurgence of piracy for the first time in almost ten years.

India, boasting the largest naval presence in the Gulf of Aden and the northern Arabian Sea, apprehended the pirates from the cargo ship Ruen last week. The Ruen had been hijacked off the coast of Somalia three months prior.

Exploiting the focus of Western forces on safeguarding shipping from attacks by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi militants in the Red Sea, pirates have conducted over 20 hijackings or attempted hijackings since November. These incidents have escalated insurance and security costs and contributed to a crisis for global shipping companies.

Simultaneously, the attacks by the Houthi militants, who claim solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza amid Israel’s conflict with Hamas, have further exacerbated the situation. Commercial traffic through the region has decreased by half since November, as vessels opt for the longer route around southern Africa, as per the Indian navy.

The captured Somali pirates, apprehended by Indian commandoes, potentially face life imprisonment, being the first prosecuted under India’s anti-piracy law of 2022. This law empowers the navy to arrest pirates on the high seas.

The pirates had utilized the Ruen as their “mother ship” to launch attacks on other vessels, stated Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar during a press conference marking the 100th day of the operations. All 17 crew members were successfully rescued by the commandoes.

India’s response to 18 piracy incidents involved deploying 21 ships and 5,000 personnel on rotation. Over 1,000 vessels were boarded and investigated during this period. Some days saw the unprecedented presence of more than a dozen warships.

Admiral Kumar emphasized the mission’s objective of ensuring safety, security, and stability in the region. He expressed India’s commitment to fulfilling its role as a first responder and preferred security partner, guaranteeing the safety and stability of the Indian Ocean region.

Throughout the mission since mid-December, there have been 57 drone or missile attacks or sightings. The Indian navy has assisted attacked ships, recovering debris from drones launched by the Houthi militants, with whom Admiral Kumar asserted India has no conflicts.

Describing one of the recovered plywood drones capable of traveling 1,600 km (1,000 miles) with basic electronics and a four-stroke engine, Admiral Kumar highlighted its simplicity in development and manufacture, requiring no sophisticated tools.


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