Indian navy frees Iranian vessel from pirates

Indian navy frees Iranian vessel from pirates

Delhi says piracy on the rise as Western nations distracted by Houthi attacks in Red Sea

An Indian soldier stands guard next to captured Somali pirates after they were brought ashore by the Indian Navy, at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai on March 23. Delhi says pirates are stepping up attacks on civilian vessels in the Arabian Sea. (Photo: Reuters)
An Indian soldier stands guard next to captured Somali pirates after they were brought ashore by the Indian Navy, at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai on March 23. Delhi says pirates are stepping up attacks on civilian vessels in the Arabian Sea. (Photo: Reuters)

NEW DELHI - The Indian Navy said it had freed a hijacked Iranian fishing vessel from nine armed pirates in the Arabian Sea on Friday, rescuing its crew unharmed.

The fishing vessel, Al-Kambar 786, was southwest of the Yemeni island of Socotra on March 28 when it was reported to have been boarded by pirates, according to a statement from the navy late on Friday.

The ship was intercepted by the INS Sumedha and INS Trishul, leading to “over 12 hours of intense coercive tactical measures” forcing the pirates to surrender, the navy said.

The crew of 23 Pakistani nationals were safe, it said.

“Indian Naval specialist teams are presently undertaking thorough sanitisation and seaworthiness checks of the fishing vessel in order to escort her to a safe area for resuming normal fishing activities,” the statement said.

India has responded to 18 incidents, deploying 21 ships and 5,000 personnel in rotation, boarding and investigating over 1,000 vessels, the navy said last week. Its unprecedented presence has involved the deployment of more than a dozen warships on some days.

Taking advantage of Western forces’ focus on protecting shipping from attacks in the Red Sea by Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi militants, pirates have made or attempted more than 20 hijackings since November, driving up insurance and security costs and adding to a crisis for global shipping companies.

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