'45 Indians Among 110 Lives Saved': Navy on 'Unsafe Sea' as 35 Somali Pirates Who Hijacked Merchant Ship Re – News18

Curated By: Yesha Kotak & Akash Sharma
Last Updated: March 23, 2024, 11:48 IST
Mumbai, India
35 Somalian pirates handed over to Mumbai Police after due formalities of Customs and Immigration. (Image: ANI)
The Indian warship INS Kolkata, carrying 35 pirates apprehended in an operation off the coast of Somalia, reached Mumbai on Saturday morning. The Somali pirates were handed over to the Mumbai police after due formalities of Customs and Immigration, the Navy said in a statement.
“Pirates would later be taken for medical. After arrest, they will be produced before the court tomorrow,” they told CNN News18.
#WATCH | Maharashtra | 35 Somalian pirates handed over to Mumbai Police after due formalities of Customs and Immigration. The pirates were captured by Indian Navy’s INS Kolkata after an Anti Piracy operation on 16th March.Visuals from Naval Dockyard, Mumbai. pic.twitter.com/026aup7Udc
— ANI (@ANI) March 23, 2024
Addressing media over the issue of ‘unsafe sea’, Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral R Hari Kumar said, “More than 90 maritime incidents have happened from November to March… This includes both drone attacks or missile attacks and piracy incidents.”
“More than 5000 Indian Navy personnel have remained at sea for the ongoing operations…A total of 21 ships have been deployed by the Indian Navy for these maritime operations… Indian Navy has responded to five major incidents in the Gulf of Aden… We have saved 110 lives, including 45 Indians and 65 Foreign nationals,” he said.
The CNS informed that in the Arabian Sea, the Indian Navy is acting under Operation Sankalp.
Speaking on the hijacking of MV Ruen, the admiral said that the Maltese-flagged bulk cargo vessel was hijacked on December 14, 2023.
“Indian Navy negotiated and rescued one injured crew before its entry in the Somalian waters. On March 15, it was spotted and was followed…Navy sent its drone and this drone was fired upon,” he said.
The CNS informed that 35 Somali pirates surrendering and being brought to trial in India is the biggest such number in the last 10 years.
“This is a testament to the new and confident Nausena. We are trying to wear the new identity of Bharat… As of yesterday, we have 11 Submarines operating.. 35 ships and other platforms…Insurance rates have gone up to 35-40 per cent. Around 40-50 per cent of ships have started to reroute via the Cape of Good Hope. Freight charges are going up. We are taking proactive action to escort the ship,” he said.
“This is the Indian Ocean… It is named after us… Hum log action nahi lenge to kaun legal,” the Admiral said while speaking on maritime security in the region.
He further said that all coastal police stations are empowered to deal with pirates. “Anti-piracy act has empowered to visit boast, search and seize. It has been an enabler…We have boarded 1000 vessels at sea as part of anti-piracy act,” he added.
The 35 pirates were apprehended following an exercise undertaken as part of the ongoing Operation Sankalp, wherein Indian Navy ships are deployed in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden for the safety of seafarers and mercantile trade passing through the region.
The Somalian pirates, who had hijacked the Maltese-flagged bulk cargo ship MV Ruen on December 14, opened fire on the Indian Navy in international waters on March 15. The navy had asked the pirates to surrender and release the vessel and any civilians they may be holding.
INS Kolkata directed the pirate ship to stop for investigation in accordance with International Law, especially the United Nations Conventions on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS). However, the pirate ship refused to comply and instead opened fire.
“INS Kolkata thereafter acted in self-defence and used kinetic measures required to disable the ship and compel the pirates to surrender,” the Navy said.
“In the face of decisive action by the Indian Navy, all pirates onboard surrendered. The 35 pirates and 17 crew members were duly taken into custody and shifted to Indian Naval ships,” it added.
In recent months, there has been growing global concern regarding maritime security, especially due to escalating threats from Yemen’s Houthi militants in the Red Sea.
India has deployed at least a dozen warships in the Gulf of Aden and the northern Arabian Sea since December, which enables it to assist vessels east of the Red Sea, where the navies of several countries, including the United States, are trying to secure shipping routes under attack.
With Indian navy commandos managing to release MV Ruen, it marked the first hijacking of a merchant ship by Somali pirates since 2017. At the peak of their attacks in 2011, Somali pirates cost the global economy an estimated USD 7 billion, including hundreds of millions of dollars in ransom payments.
During the piracy peak, India’s navy used to prosecute and jail in India pirates involved in major attacks, but in recent months the navy has taken to leaving the pirates at sea. The Ruen pirates will be the first India prosecutes in years, the official said.
(With inputs from Reuters)


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