Indian defense officials have reported a significant mission where the Indian Navy warship INS Sumitra successfully rescued the hijacked fishing vessel Al Naemi from Somali pirates. The operation took place approximately 800 miles off the coast of Kochi. The Al Naemi, sailing off the East Coast of Somalia, was successfully secured, and on Monday, 19 Pakistani nationals on board were rescued in a commendable effort by the Indian Navy.
The Indian Navy carried out its second rescue operation in 24 hours. On Monday, the Indian Navy rescued FV Iman, an Iranian-flagged fishing vessel with 17 crew members, from Somali pirates during anti-piracy operations along Somalia’s east coast and the Gulf of Aden. The Marine Commandos of the Indian Navy participated in the effort to safely rescue the fishing boat’s crew. According to Indian Defense officials, “warships from the Indian Navy are stationed throughout the Indian Ocean region to provide safety and security in the area.”
The Indian Navy said that the cruiser INS Sumitra saved the hostages of 19 Pakistani nationals on board the fishing vessel after it was intercepted by pirates and action was taken to locate the stricken vessel. The Iranian-flagged fishing vessel Iman sent out a distress signal, prompting the Indian navy to send out its destroyer, INS Sumitra, which was on an anti-piracy mission off the east coast of Somalia in the Gulf of Aden.
The hijackings off the coast of Somalia, which coincide with an increase in strikes by the Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are supported by Iran, have raised fears about a return of opportunistic pirates conducting raids in the Indian Ocean. In retaliation for Israel’s battle against the Palestinian militant organization Hamas in Gaza, Houthi gunmen have undertaken many attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, focusing on vessels with connections to Israel. International naval forces have been transferred north from the Gulf of Aden into the Red Sea, raising concerns that pirates may exploit the security lapse, with the first successful Somali piracy case since 2017 reported in December.
Pirate attacks off the Somali coast peaked in 2011 — with gunmen launching attacks as far as 3,655 kilometers (2,270 miles) off the Somali coast in the Indian Ocean — before plummeting significantly after international navies dispatched warships and commercial vessels added armed guards.