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Navy to bring 35 Somali pirates to India for prosecution


NEW DELHI: After rescuing the hijacked merchant vessel Ruen and its 17-member crew in the major operation on the

high seas

on Saturday, which saw

marine commandos

also being para-dropped from a C-17 aircraft and exchange of gunfire, the Navy is now bringing the 35

Somali pirates

in its custody to India.
The pirates, who had commandeered

MV Ruen

for use as a “mother pirate ship” to launch attacks on other commercial ships in the region, and even shot down a small spotter drone flown from destroyer INS Kolkata during the operation, will be prosecuted under Indian laws here.

“There is now also the Maritime Anti-Piracy Act, which was notified last year, to prosecute such cases. The usual practice is to set apprehended pirates adrift on their skiffs after disarming them to ensure they do not pose a threat to other vessels. But these 35 pirates opened fire on our warship. If they are let go, they will re-group and begin their

piracy attacks

again,” an officer said.
Talks are also underway with the owners of the Malta-flagged MV Ruen, which is carrying around 37,800 tonnes of cargo estimated to be worth around $1 million, on whether the bulk carrier should also be brought to India or handed over to them somewhere.

Guided-missile destroyer INS Kolkata intercepted MV Ruen, which was hijacked on December 14, around 260 nautical miles east of Somalia on Friday. The destroyer was backed by patrol vessel INS Subhadra, P-8I long-range maritime patrol aircraft, high-altitude long-endurance drones and additional marine commandos air-dropped by the C-17 Globemaster-III aircraft of IAF in the over 40-hour operation around 2,600-km from the Indian coast, as was reported by TOI.

“In a reckless hostile act, the pirates shot down the ship-launched drone and fired at INS Kolkata. In a calibrated response as per international laws, INS Kolkata disabled the vessel’s steering system and navigational aids, forcing her to stop,” Navy spokesperson Commander Vivek Madhwal said.
The C-17 aircraft, flying for almost 10 hours from the Indian mainland, also executed “a precision airborne drop” of the marine commandos and two combat rubberised raiding craft boats to augment the operation.
“INS Kolkata undertook precisely measured actions, while maintaining her position close to the vessel. She also engaged in forceful negotiations that led to the pirates’ surrender due to the sustained pressure,” he said.
The 17 crew members from Bulgaria, Angola and Myanmar were also safely evacuated without any injuries. “The successful culmination of the

anti-piracy operation

in the southern Indian Ocean Region highlights the commitment of the

Indian Navy

towards reinforcing peace and stability as well as thwarting the resurgence of piracy in the region,” Commander Madhwal said.

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