Indian Navy’s INS Sumitra Thwarts Two Hijack Attempts in 36 Hours, Safeguarding 36 Lives

Swift Action, Strategic Deployment Avert Risky Scenarios in Arabian Sea

On January 29, 2024, the Indian Navy’s offshore patrol vessel INS Sumitra displayed remarkable skill and decisiveness in two separate anti-piracy operations within a mere 36 hours. Operating in the Gulf of Aden, the warship successfully interdicted hijack attempts against two fishing vessels, securing the release of 36 crew members and thwarting potential scenarios that could have jeopardized both lives and maritime security.

First Intervention: Iranian Fishing Vessel Iman Regained

The initial distress call came from the Iranian-flagged fishing vessel Iman, carrying a crew of 17 Iranian nationals. Pirates had boarded the vessel, taking the crew hostage and putting their lives and freedom at risk. Reacting with commendable alacrity, INS Sumitra swiftly launched a search and intercept operation. Utilizing its integrated helicopter and boats for a coordinated response, the warship employed “coercive posturing” tactics to compel the pirates to relinquish control of the Iman and its crew. This decisive action ensured the safe release of all 17 individuals and the recovery of the vessel.

Second Intervention: Iranian-Flagged Fishing Vessel Al Naeemi Freed

Just as the Iman incident resolved, Sumitra received another urgent call for assistance. This time, Somali pirates had seized the Iranian-flagged fishing vessel Al Naeemi, holding its crew of 19 Pakistani nationals captive. Undeterred by the prior mission’s demands, Sumitra immediately commenced another search and intercept operation. Recognizing the urgency of the situation, the warship adopted a similar strategy, deploying its helicopter and boats in a strategic formation and utilizing effective communication and manoeuvres to exert pressure on the pirates. Through this resolute action, Sumitra secured the safe release of the 19 crew members and regained control of the Al Naeemi.

Indian Navy

Significance of Indian Navy’s Actions: Protecting Lives, Countering Piracy

These two successful interventions by INS Sumitra within a short timeframe underscore the Indian Navy’s unwavering commitment to safeguarding lives at sea and combating piracy in the region. The operations highlight several key aspects:

  • Swift and Decisive Response: The Navy’s prompt action upon receiving distress calls was crucial in preventing harm to the fishermen and ensuring a timely resolution to both situations.
  • Effective Coercive Posturing: The strategic deployment of the warship’s helicopter, boats, and communication techniques applied pressure on the pirates without escalating the situations unnecessarily.
  • Seamless Coordination: The collaboration between different units within Sumitra, including the bridge, combat information center, and onboard helicopter team, enabled a smooth and effective response.
  • Adherence to International Law: Throughout the operations, INS Sumitra remained committed to upholding international maritime law and protocols, prioritizing the safety of all parties involved.

Addressing the Resurgence of Piracy in the Gulf of Aden

While piracy incidents in the Gulf of Aden had significantly declined from their peak around 2010, the recent uptick warrants continued vigilance and proactive measures. The Indian Navy’s continued presence in the region since 2008, with at least one warship deployed on anti-piracy duties, has played a crucial role in deterring and combating these illegal activities.

Beyond Immediate Intervention: Sustained Efforts Crucial

While Sumitra’s actions deserve commendation, long-term solutions are necessary to address the root causes of piracy in the region. These include promoting economic development, establishing effective governance structures, and fostering international cooperation to share intelligence and coordinate efforts. By working together, maritime nations can create a safer and more secure environment for all who navigate the seas.

The Indian Navy’s INS Sumitra has set a commendable example through its prompt and decisive actions in rescuing fishing vessels and their crews from pirate attacks. This incident serves as a reminder of the ongoing challenges posed by piracy and the importance of collaborative efforts to ensure the safety and security of maritime trade and innocent lives at sea. By continuing its anti-piracy patrols and supporting broader initiatives aimed at addressing the root causes of piracy, the Indian Navy and other maritime stakeholders can contribute to a more peaceful and prosperous future for the region.

Leave a Comment