Indian Navy Thwarts Pirate Attack, Rescues Crew off Somali Coast
In a daring operation, the Indian Navy successfully thwarted a piracy attempt on the Iranian-flagged fishing vessel, FV Omaril, off the east coast of Somalia on February 2. The vessel, carrying 11 Iranian and eight Pakistani nationals, was under attack by seven pirates who had taken the crew hostage. The Indian naval remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) detected the piracy attempt on January 31, leading to the immediate deployment of INS Sharda for an anti-piracy mission.
Executing a precise interception in the early hours of February 2, INS Sharda utilized its integral helicopter and boats to coerce the pirates into a safe release of the crew and the vessel. Following the successful mission, the Navy conducted a confirmatory boarding on FV Omaril to ensure the well-being of the crew previously held captive by the Somali pirates.
The Indian Navy has been actively engaging in promoting maritime security, with Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt highlighting seven reported incidents of vessel hijackings by pirates in the last three years. The latest incident underscores the Navy’s commitment to safeguarding maritime interests and ensuring the safety of vessels operating in piracy-prone waters.
To counter the ongoing maritime security challenges, the Indian Navy has deployed units in strategic locations such as Djibouti, Gulf of Aden, the North and Central Arabian Sea, and off the East Coast of Somalia. These deployments aim to protect merchant vessels and provide assistance when required. Since 2008, the Indian Navy has undertaken anti-piracy patrols, escorting over 3,440 ships and ensuring the safety of more than 25,000 seafarers.
In response to the rising threats, the Navy maintains a proactive approach, conducting aerial surveillance, exchanging information with national and international maritime security agencies, and interrogating fishing vessels in the region. The recent rescue operation reflects the Navy’s dedication to maintaining maritime security and ensuring the safety of crews navigating these challenging waters.