Here’s a detailed recap of the Indian Navy's recent showdown with Somali Pirates

Here’s a detailed recap of the Indian Navy's recent showdown with Somali Pirates
(Credits: ANI)
Since the past week, the Indian Navy's showdown with Somali Pirates has dominated news headlines, capturing attention not only in India but across the globe.

During this period, the navy successfully tracked and intercepted the hijacked vessel, executed a 40-hour operation to coerce the pirates into surrendering, rescued hostages, and is now in the process of bringing the culprits back to India for legal action.

But what precisely unfolded during these events? Here's a comprehensive recap of the events that transpired in the Indian Ocean.

  • Bulk carrier MV Abdullah, flying the flag of Bangladesh, is seized by armed Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean, approximately 600 nautical miles east of Mogadishu, Somalia.
  • Upon receiving notification, a Long Range Maritime Patrol (LRMP) aircraft responds to the piracy attack on MV Abdullah on the evening of March 12, 2024. It attempts to establish communication to ascertain the status of the ship's crew members, but receives no response.
  • A diverted Mission Deployed warship intercepts the hijacked MV Abdullah on the morning of March 14. It ensures the safety of the MV's crew (all Bangladesh nationals) held hostage by the armed pirates and remains in the MV’s close vicinity until its arrival in the territorial waters of Somalia.
  • On March 15, the Indian Navy warship INS Kolkata intercepts the MV, calling upon the pirates onboard to surrender and release the vessel and any civilians they may be holding against their will.
  • The MV opens fire on INS Kolkata, prompting the warship to take actions in self-defence and to counter piracy with minimal force necessary to neutralise the pirates’ threat to shipping and seafarers.
  • In a display of jointness and integration, an Indian Air Force C-17 aircraft executes a precision Airborne Drop of two Combat Rubberised Raiding Craft (CRRC) boats, along with Indian Navy MARCOS, in the Arabian Sea to support the ongoing anti-piracy ‘Operation Sankalp’.
  • INS Kolkata, assisted by the Indian warship INS Subhadra, High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE RPA) drones, P8I maritime patrol aircraft, and MARCOS PRAHARs parachuted by HALE RPA, carries out the interception of the Pirate Ship Ruen almost 1400 nm (2600 km) from the Indian Coast. It subsequently forces the pirate ship to stop through calibrated actions that include disabling the vehicle’s steering system and navigational aids.
  • On March 14, the 40-hour-long operation culminates with INS Kolkata successfully coercing all 35 Pirates to surrender and ensuring the safe evacuation of 17 crew members from the pirate vessel without any injury.
  • The 35 Somalian pirates who surrendered to the Indian Navy are now being brought back to India for prosecution.

Typically, the Indian Navy adheres to standard protocols by apprehending pirates, disarming them, and subsequently permitting their departure after ensuring they no longer present a threat to other vessels. However, given the pirates' engagement in an act of aggression against the Indian Navy, coupled with concerns about these pirates regrouping and resuming attacks if allowed to depart freely, authorities have opted to bring them back to India.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Defence’s statement on this mission read: “The culmination of the ongoing Anti-Piracy operation involving pirate ship Ruen in the Southern Indian Ocean Region (IOR) highlights the commitment of the Indian Navy towards reinforcing peace and stability, and also to thwart the resurgence of Piracy in the region. The Indian Navy remains steadfast in performing its role as the 'First Responder' in IOR.”