The Indian Navy has deployed an indigenous guided missile destroyer in the Gulf of Aden region in light of the piracy incident earlier this week, as per a release issued by the Defence Ministry.
The move is aimed at augmenting the anti-piracy efforts in the Gulf of Aden region. The Indian Navy remains committed to ensuring the safety of merchant shipping and rendering assistance to mariners at sea as a ‘first responder’ in the region, as per the release.
On the night of December 14, a report regarding a potential piracy incident onboard a Malta-flagged vessel, MV Ruen, was monitored on the UKMTO portal. The vessel was reported to be boarded by six unknown personnel.
In a swift response, the Indian Navy’s Maritime Patrol Aircraft deployed to investigate the incident arrived overhead at MV Ruen on December 15 and established communication with the crew. All 18 crew members (no Indians onboard the MV) were reported to be safe in the citadel. Concurrently, in response to the incident, INS Kochi on anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden was also diverted immediately to render assistance, as per the official release.
Meanwhile, INS Kochi intercepted MV Ruen in the early hours of December 16 and launched its integral helicopter to assess the situation. It was ascertained from the crew that the citadel onboard MV Ruen had been breached and all crew members were held hostage by the pirates.
One of the crew members had also sustained injuries but was reported to be stable. While no armed intervention was undertaken to ensure crew safety onboard the hijacked MV, requisite actions were taken by the warship towards ensuring suitable treatment of the crew by the pirates.
On December 16, a Japanese warship also arrived in the area and was relieved by the Spanish warship ESPNS Victoria later in the day. The ship was maintained in close vicinity of the hijacked vessel during its transit towards Somalia from December 16-17, suitably engaging with the pirates and coordinating actions with the other warships.
The hijacked vessel entered the territorial waters of Somalia (off Bosaso) on December 17. INS Kochi was successful in ensuring that the injured crew member was released by pirates in the early hours of December 18 for further medical management.
The injured crew member was medically attended to onboard the ship but due to urgent medical attention required, which was beyond the scope of the ship, he was transferred ashore to Oman on December 19.
(with inputs from ANI)