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IAF's C-17 aircraft executes precision airdrop in Arabian Sea, helps Navy seize hijacked vessel

IAF's C-17 aircraft executes precision airdrop in Arabian Sea, helps Navy seize hijacked vessel
A C-17 tactical transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) executed a precision airdrop of two combat boats along with marine commandos in the Arabian Sea while assisting the Navy to seize a hijacked cargo vessel from Somali pirates. The IAF described the airdrop of the Combat Rubberised Raiding Craft (CRRC) boats and the MARCOS commandos as a "remarkable display" of "jointness" between the two forces.

The Navy on Saturday captured 35 pirates and freed 17 hostages held by them after seizing the former Maltese-flagged merchant vessel around 2,600 km from the Indian coast in a well-calibrated operation.

The nearly 40-hour operation saw the Navy deploying its stealth-guided missile destroyer INS Kolkata, patrol vessel INS Subhadra, long-endurance Sea Guardian drones besides airdropping of the elite marine commandos -- MARCOS -- using the C-17 aircraft.

The merchant vessel Ruen was seized by the Somali pirates in December off the coast of Somalia.

"In a remarkable display of #Jointness & #Integration, an IAF C-17 aircraft executed a precision Airborne Drop of two Combat Rubberised Raiding Craft (CRRC) boats, along with Indian Navy MARCOS in Arabian Sea in support of ongoing anti piracy Op Sankalp," the IAF posted on 'X'.

"Flying for almost 10 hrs to an area 2600 kms off the Indian Coast, the Op was carried out to rescue crew of bulk carrier vessel MV Ruen. The ship was hijacked by Somali pirates near Yemeni island of Socotra recently," it said.

"Working seamlessly with @indiannavy, the mission was successful with all the 17 crew on-board recovered safely," the IAF added.

In a statement, the Navy said the seaworthiness of MV Ruen is being assessed and the vessel carrying approximately 37,800 tonnes of cargo worth around USD 1 million will be brought safely to India.

"The culmination of the ongoing anti-piracy operation involving pirate ship Ruen in the Southern Indian Ocean Region highlights the commitment of the Indian Navy towards reinforcing peace and stability, and also to thwart the resurgence of piracy in the region," it said.

The Indian Navy deployed over 10 warships to keep a vigil over the strategic waterways following increasing attacks on cargo vessels in the Red Sea by Iran-backed Houthi militants.

In the midst of rising global concerns over the Houthi attacks, the Indian Ocean saw rising incidents of piracy.

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