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Daring Rescue by Indian Navy Ends Somali Pirate Standoff

Daring Rescue by Indian Navy Ends Somali Pirate Standoff

Daring Rescue by Indian Navy Ends Somali Pirate Standoff

In a dramatic operation spanning over 40 hours, the Indian Navy successfully rescued 17 crew members from a hijacked cargo vessel and apprehended 35 Somali pirates. The MV Ruen, a Maltese-flagged bulk carrier, had been seized by pirates late last year, marking the first successful hijacking by Somalis since 2017.

Interception and Standoff

Acting on intelligence, the Indian Navy deployed its warship INS Kolkata to intercept the hijacked vessel in the Arabian Sea. The warship chased the Ruen for over 2,600 kilometers before cornering it on Friday morning. A drone launched from the warship confirmed the presence of armed pirates onboard. The pirates, in a show of defiance, opened fire and shot down the drone.

The Navy responded by disabling the Ruen’s steering and navigation systems, effectively rendering it immobile. This action aimed to pressure the pirates into surrendering and releasing the hostages without further escalation.

The Rescue Mission

With support from patrol vessel INS Subhadra, long-range drones, and maritime patrol aircraft, the Navy launched a coordinated operation on Saturday. A team of eight elite marine commandos, known as MARCOS PRAHARs, parachuted onto the vessel to secure the ship and free the crew.

The operation proved successful. All 35 pirates surrendered, and the 17 crew members were safely evacuated without any injuries. The Navy ensured a thorough check of the ship for any illegal weapons, ammunition, or contraband.

Aftermath and Significance

The rescue of the MV Ruen highlights the Indian Navy’s commitment to maritime security in the region. Their swift and decisive action not only saved the lives of the crew but also prevented the hijacked ship from becoming a potential “mother ship” for further attacks.

The incident also raises concerns about a potential resurgence of Somali piracy, which had been largely contained by international efforts in recent years.

The MV Ruen, carrying a valuable cargo worth millions of dollars, will undergo a seaworthiness assessment before being escorted to a safe port in India. This successful operation showcases the Indian Navy’s growing capabilities in conducting complex anti-piracy operations and reaffirms their commitment to safeguarding vital sea lanes in the region.

Indian naval forces, along with special commandos, have taken control of a cargo ship that was hijacked by Somali pirates, rescuing 17 crew members in the process. The Indian Navy spokesperson announced this development, stating that the operation involved the surrender of all 35 pirates aboard the Maltese-flagged vessel MV Ruen. The navy ensured the safety of the crew by checking the ship for any illegal items such as weapons or contraband.

The MV Ruen had been seized by pirates late last year, and the navy first intercepted it on Friday. The navy called upon the pirates to surrender and release any hostages they were holding. This action underscores the Indian navy’s commitment to maritime security and the safety of sailors in the region.

There’s suspicion that the hijacked vessel might have been used as a base for the recent takeover of a Bangladeshi-flagged cargo ship off the coast of Somalia, as reported by the European Union naval force. This hijacking marks the first successful seizure by Somali pirates since 2017, following a period of decreased incidents due to international naval crackdowns in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

The rescue operation involved multiple Navy vessels, drones, aircraft, and marine commandos. The Indian Navy detected the hijacked vessel through surveillance and directed its warship INS Kolkata to intercept it. The warship traveled over 2,600 kilometers to corner the vessel on Friday morning.

The pirates had been in control of the ship for three months since its hijacking in December. When a ship-launched drone confirmed the presence of armed pirates, they opened fire and shot down the drone. In a video shared by the Navy, a pirate is seen aiming his gun at the aircraft hovering over the vessel before opening fire. In response, INS Kolkata disabled the ship’s steering system and navigation aids to compel the pirates to surrender and release the hostages.

On Saturday, the Navy successfully took control of the ship with support from patrol vessel INS Subhadra, drones, and P8I maritime patrol aircraft. A squad of 8 marine commandos were airdropped onto the vessel to detain the pirates and safely evacuate the crew. Fortunately, no injuries were reported during the operation. The ship was thoroughly checked for illegal items.

In a statement, the Navy declared, “Due to sustained pressure and calibrated actions by the Indian Navy over the last 40 hours, all 35 Somali pirates surrendered on March 16, 2024. All 17 original crew members of MV Ruen were safely evacuated from the pirate vessel without any injury. The seaworthiness of MV Ruen will be assessed, and the vessel, carrying approximately 37,800 tons of cargo worth more than one million dollars, will be safely brought to India.”

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