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Indian Navy Rescues Hijacked Fishing Boat from Pirates

April 1 ------ The Indian Navy has once again successfully intervened in a piracy incident rescuing the crew of a hijacked fishing vessel. After more than 12 hours of intense operations, the pirates on board the hijacked boat were forced to surrender. The crew, comprising 23 Pakistani nationals, have been safely rescued. 


The fishing boat the Al Kambar was boarded on March 28. The Indian Navy was responding to a report of nine armed pirates having boarded the boat approximately 90 nautical miles southwest of Socotra, an island belonging to Yemen in the Indian Ocean. The area around the island has been identified as a hot spot for pirate activity. 


This incident comes just two days after the Maritime Security Center for the Horn of Africa reiterated its warning for the waters around Socotra. On Wednesday, they warned that they still believed four pirate action groups were active in the region. Based on the suspicious approaches and the attempted attack on a tanker a week ago, EUNAVFOR ATALANTA warned of the possibility of piracy-related incidents estimating the groups could be active off the north of Socotra. “The possibility of attacks in the Gulf of Aden cannot be dismissed,” they wrote in the March 27 warning. “Although there have been no piracy-related incidents in the past seven days, ATALANTA continues to assess the threat as Moderate (where an attack is a realistic possibility) off the Somali coasts.” They warned that typically the attacks come within 12 days of the hijacking of dhows and that they believed the armed groups were still intent on seizing other dhows to use as motherships for attacks on commercial shipping. 


The Indian Navy reported its vessel the Sumedha intercepted the Al Kambar early this morning, March 29. The guided-missile frigate Trishul also joined the operation. During their surveillance operation, they were able to confirm the presence of the armed pirates aboard the vessel releasing a picture of one of the pirates on the deck of the boat. Using the Navy’s operating procedures for these situations, they report they were able to convince the pirates to surrender. Indian Navy specialist teams are presently undertaking thorough “sanitization and seaworthiness checks” of the fishing vessel. They plan to escort the boat to a safe area so that it can resume its normal fishing activities. 


Two months ago, the Indian Navy also working with Sri Lanka and the Seychelles intervened and rescued the crew of another dhow that had been taken in the Indian Ocean. Elite commando teams from the Indian Navy also conducted missions freeing the Navibulgar vessel Ruen and scaring off the pirates that boarded Lila Norfolk at the beginning of January. In the first 100 days of its latest mission, the Indian Navy reports it has responded to 18 incidents and has played a pivotal role as the “First Responder” for critical situations in the Indian Ocean. 



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