Pakistani and Iranian crew

Determined To Help Anybody Who’s In Distress: Navy Chief

Pakistani and Iranian crew

After the Pakistani and Iranian crew expressed gratitude towards the Indian Navy for saving them from Somali pirates, Indian Navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar on Sunday emphasised that they are determined to help anybody who’s in distress, adding that they need to ensure that region is safe, secure, free and open.

The navy chief further told ANI that in the process, they realized that there were some fishing vessels with different nationalities, like Iranians, and Pakistani crew were getting hijacked by the Somali pirates, and they were being used thereafter to carry out piracy attacks on other bigger ships.

He added that the Indian navy made the pirates surrender their weapons and “release the crew of these three vessels.”

“So that is why you find them thanking us…It’s our job to ensure that anybody who’s in distress, we are determined to help them and ensure that this region is safe, secure, free and open,” he said.

Moreover, warning shots were fired by the Indian Navy warship INS Sumitra during the anti-piracy mission, according to the Indian Navy.

The Navy chief further highlighted that currently, the Indian Navy is undertaking two major operations; anti-piracy operation and anti-drone operation.

“One is the anti-piracy operation other is the anti-drone operation,” he said.

He further explained that in anti-drone operation, they are not just supporting the Indian flag merchant vessel, but also any of the other flag vessels who are in distress.

“In anti-drone operation, we are supporting our merchant ships, not just the Indian flag merchant vessel, but also any of the other flag vessels who are in distress, whether it’s fire or attacked by some drone or missile,” he said.

Additionally, he said that they also try to assist them in getting to the harbour safely.

“If there’s damage, we have been trying to help them and assist them to get to the harbour safely,” he added.

Highlighting the second operation, the anti-piracy operation, the navy chief said that they thought that piracy had almost finished but they saw a resurgence when the tensions started in shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.

“The second operation, which is ongoing, is the anti-piracy operation. We have deployed more than 108 ships since 2008, continuously…We thought that piracy had almost finished because hardly any piracy attacks in 2023…But then suddenly when the drone attack started and the disturbance in the shipping in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. We suddenly saw a resurgence in this,” he said.

The Navy chief Hari Kumar then stressed that the Indian Navy is determined to ensure that this piracy will be completely minimised.

“Towards that, we have been aggressively pursuing our mission. We have deployed about four ships there. So every single fishing boat or vessel that is suspected is being boarded and we are checking for piracy triggers…,” he added.

The Indian Navy warship INS Sumitra thwarted the piracy attempt on an Iranian-flagged fishing vessel, Al Naeemi sailing off the East Coast of Somalia and successfully rescued 19 Pakistani nationals on Monday, the Indian Navy said in an official statement.

On January 28, the warship on PM 28 Jan 2024 responded to a distress message regarding the hijacking of an Iranian-flagged Fishing Vessel (FV) Iman, which had been boarded by pirates and the crew taken as hostages.

The FV was intercepted by INS Sumitra and following the SOPs and coercive posturing the vessel and 17 Iranian crew were safely rescued in the early hours of January 29. FiV Iman was sanitised and released for onward transit.

Subsequently, INS Sumitra located and intercepted another Iranian-flagged fishing vessel Al Naeemi, which had been boarded by pirates and her Crew (19 Pakistani Nationals) taken hostage.

On January 29, INS Sumitra intercepted the fishing vessel 29 Jan 2024 and through coercive posturing and deployment of her integral helo and boats compelled the safe release of the crew and the vessel. The ship also undertook confirmatory boarding to sanitise and check on the well-being of the crew who were held captive by the Somali pirates. (ANI)

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