In two days, the Indian Navy frees two captured ships off the coast of Somalia

Amid concerns about a potential revival of piracy in the region, Indian navy troops have managed to save two hijacked vessels off the coast of Somalia. Within 36 hours of one another, the warship INS Sumitra performed two rescues. A few days prior, the defense forces of Seychelles said that they had liberated a group of fishermen from pirates. Pirate activity had previously been rife in the waters off the coast of Somalia, but it had virtually disappeared after international forces increased their patrols. For instance, India has continuously assisted in patrolling the region since 2008.

But according to the AFP news agency, several of those naval forces have advanced into the Red Sea, where the Yemeni-based Houthi rebel group has been assaulting ships. According to the news agency, experts now worry that pirates in the area would take advantage of the breach. The International Maritime Bureau’s director, Michael Howlett, called the first successful hijacking in the area since 2017 to occur in December of last year, calling it “a cause for concern”.

Troels Burchall Henningsen, an associate professor at the Royal Danish Defence College, told the BBC that it was doubtful that there would be a full-scale comeback that would reach past heights because the current strikes appeared to be opportunistic. Attacks seem to have escalated over the month of January. The Indian navy claims that on January 28, one of its ships reacted to a distress call and intercepted a vessel flying the Iranian flag. A message on X (previously Twitter) stated that after that, naval officers “coerce[d] the pirates for safe release of crew along with the boat”. Following the liberation of the seventeen crew members, the ship was cleaned and given permission to resume its voyage. The pirates’ status was not mentioned in the announcement.

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