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Makayla MylesApril 3, 2024

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Indian Navy Rescues Two Hijacked Ships off the Coast of Somalia

Indian forces have rescued two vessels from pirates off the Somali coast as there are fears that there will be a resurgence of piracy in the area.

The warship INS Sumitra made two rescues within 36 hours of each other.

Just days earlier, the Seychelles People’s Defense Force reported freeing a group of fishermen from pirates.

The waters of Somalia used to be a hotspot for piracy, but the number of attacks has stopped after anti-piracy patrols have started to increase. India has been helping to patrol the area since 2008. However, the number of patrols has started decreasing as naval forces have started moving up north to the Red Sea. This movement of naval forces has been in response to the Houthi missile attacks on shipping. Experts now fear that the lack of patrols will be exploited by the pirates in the region.

These have been some of the first successful hijackings in the region since 2017.

Micheal Howlett-director of the International Marine Bureau-noted that it was “a cause for concern.”

Attacks have increased in January with the Indian Navy reporting that one of its ships responded to a distress message on the 28th of January and intercepted an Iranian-flagged vessel. Once the 17 crew members were released, the ship was allowed to continue its journey. The Indian Navy did not report on what had become of the pirates.

Then, two days later the INS Sumitra responded to another distress message from an Iranian-flagged fishing vessel. Navy personnel then boarded the vessel to clear it of pirates and check on the well-being of its 19 sailors. The status of the pirates was not mentioned again, but a photo posted on X showed armed navy personnel guarding men with their hands tied behind their backs.

Earlier in January, Indian naval Commandoes rescued 21 crew members from a Liberian-flagged vessel from pirates off the coast of Somalia. Meanwhile,  Seychelles reported that its military had freed 6 Sri Lankan fishermen on Saturday. They were being held hostage by gunmen for three days who had attacked them around 840 nautical miles southeast of Mogadishu. On the 26th of January, the Indian Navy deployed the INS Visakhapatnam in the Gulf of Aden after the UK-linked tanker, Marlin Luanda, came under a Houthi attack. The Marlin Luanda received one hit before Indian, American, and French vessels arrived.

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