In a commendable display of maritime prowess, the INS Sumitra has achieved yet another victory in the ongoing battle against piracy off the East Coast of Somalia. This recent operation involved the successful rescue of Fishing Vessel Al Naeemi and its crew, comprising 19 Pakistani nationals, from the clutches of 11 Somali pirates.
The INS Sumitra, an indigenous Offshore Patrol Vessel of the Indian Navy, has been strategically deployed for Anti-Piracy and Maritime Security Operations in the region, covering the waters east of Somalia and the Gulf of Aden. The vessel’s proactive response to distress signals and efficient execution of standard operating procedures has once again underscored its effectiveness in combating maritime threats.
The sequence of events unfolded on the 28th of January, when INS Sumitra received a distress message concerning the hijacking of an Iranian-flagged Fishing Vessel named Iman. The vessel had fallen prey to pirates, who had taken the crew of 17 Iranian nationals as hostages. Employing swift and decisive action, INS Sumitra intercepted FV Iman, employing coercive posturing, and successfully rescued the crew in the early hours of January 29th. The vessel was subsequently sanitized and released for its onward transit.
Following this triumph, INS Sumitra continued its vigilant watch over the waters, promptly responding to another distress call involving the Iranian-flagged Fishing Vessel Al Naeemi. Pirates had boarded the vessel, holding its crew of 19 Pakistani nationals captive. Once again, Sumitra demonstrated its effectiveness by intercepting the vessel on the 29th of January.
Through coercive posturing and the strategic deployment of its integral helicopter and boats, INS Sumitra ensured the safe release of the crew and the vessel. Confirmatory boarding was also conducted to sanitize the vessel and assess the well-being of the crew.
In less than 36 hours, INS Sumitra’s relentless efforts resulted in the rescue of two hijacked Fishing Vessels along with a total of 36 crew members (17 Iranian and 19 Pakistani). This successful operation took place approximately 850 nautical miles west of Kochi, in the Southern Arabian Sea. Importantly, these actions by the Indian Navy have thwarted potential misuse of the Fishing Vessels as Mother Ships for future acts of piracy on merchant vessels.
The Indian Navy’s commitment to ensuring the safety of mariners and vessels at sea has been resoundingly reaffirmed through these recent anti-piracy operations. The swift and persistent efforts of INS Sumitra underscore the Navy’s dedication to combating maritime threats in the region.