Piracy attack: Navy rescues hijacked Iranian vessel with Pakistani crew

NEW DELHI: Responding to yet another piracy attack, the Indian Navy intercepted and rescued a hijacked Iranian fishing vessel Al-Kambar 786 and its 23-member Pakistani crew in the Arabian Sea on Friday.
“The nine armed pirates, who had boarded the fishing vessel around 90 nautical miles south-west of Socotra late on Thursday evening, were forced to surrender after more than 12 hours of intense coercive tactical measures,” an officer said.
After receiving inputs about the hijacking, the Navy swung into action by first diverting patrol vessel INS Sumedha to intercept Al-Kambar in the early hours of Friday. INS Sumedha was subsequently joined by guided-missile frigate INS Trishul in the maritime security operation.
“The crew of 23 Pakistani nationals has been safely rescued. Indian naval specialist teams are presently undertaking thorough sanitisation and seaworthiness checks of Al-Kambar in order to escort her to a safe area for resuming normal fishing activities,” the officer said.
The Navy on March 23 completed 100 days of stepped-up operations under the aegis of “Operation Sankalp” in the Gulf of Aden and adjoining areas, Arabian Sea, and off the east coast of Somalia amid the continuing attacks by Houthi rebels and Somali pirates that have disrupted sea trade in the region.
Navy chief Admiral R Hari Kumar has said India, as the largest resident naval power in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), will continue to take action against the threats posed by piracy and drone attacks to ensure the region remains safe, secure and stable.
The Navy has even brought to Mumbai 35 Somalia pirates for legal prosecution after they were apprehended in the 40-hour operation to rescue hijacked Malta-flagged merchant vessel Ruen and its 17-member crew, which also saw marine commandos being para-dropped from a C-17 aircraft and exchange of gunfire, around 2,600 km from the Indian coast on March 15-16, as was then reported by TOI.
The stepped-up naval deployments since mid-December have involved over 5,000 personnel at sea, over 450 “ship days” with 21 warships, and 900 hours of flying by maritime surveillance aircraft to address threats in the region. “During this time, the Navy has responded to almost 20 incidents and played a pivotal role as the ‘First Responder’ and ‘Preferred Security Partner’ in the IOR,” an officer said.

“With over 110 lives saved (including 45 Indian seafarers), 15 lakh tons of critical commodities escorted, nearly 1,000 boarding operations undertaken, more than 3,000 kg of narcotics seized and over 450 merchant vessels assured of our presence, the ongoing maritime security operations have truly reflected Indian Navy’s capability in playing a vital role as a strong and a responsible force in the IOR,” he added.

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