New Delhi: The Indian Navy on Tuesday foiled a piracy attempt on an Iranian-flagged fishing vessel off the east coast of Somalia and rescued 19 Pakistani crew members who were held hostage by 11 Somali pirates, officials said.
The patrol vessel INS Sumitra intercepted the distressed vessel Al Naeemi and coerced the pirates to release the crew and the boat, the Navy said in a statement.
This was the second successful anti-piracy operation by INS Sumitra in less than 36 hours. On Monday, the warship had intercepted another Iranian-flagged fishing vessel Iman, which had been hijacked by pirates and ensured the safe release of 17 crew members.
The Navy said that both operations took place in the southern Arabian Sea, approximately 850 nautical miles west of Kochi, where the Navy successfully prevented the misuse of these fishing vessels as mother ships for further acts of piracy on merchant vessels.
INS Sumitra, the Indian Navy’s indigenous offshore patrol vessel, had been deployed for anti-piracy and maritime security operations east of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden, the Navy said.
The Navy also undertook confirmatory boarding to sanitise the vessels and to check on the well-being of the crew who were held captive by the Somali pirates, the Navy added.
The Navy has been actively involved in combating piracy in the Indian Ocean region since 2008. It has also been providing escort to merchant ships and humanitarian aid vessels in the region.