India brings back 35 Somali pirates as part of operations near Red Sea

India brings back 35 Somali pirates as part of operations near Red Sea

NEW DELHI: The Indian navy handed over 35 Somali pirates to the police in Mumbai on Saturday ( Mar 23 ), after 100 days of anti- piracy operations east of the Red Sea, where piracy has resurfaced for the first time in nearly a decade.

India, the largest national power in the Gulf of Aden and north Arabian Sea area, captured the thieves from the cargo ship Ruen last month, three months after it was hijacked off the Ethiopian coast.

Taking advantage of American forces ‘ focus on protecting delivery from attacks in the Red Sea by Yemen’s Egyptian- backed Houthi militants, pirates have made or attempted more than 20 hijackings since November, driving up coverage and protection costs and adding to a crisis for international shipping companies.

With the attacks by the Houthis, who claim cooperation with Palestinians in Gaza during Israel’s warfare against Hamas, and the boom in theft, business customers through the area has halved since November as ships take the longer path around southern Africa, India’s navy said.

The pirates captured by Indian commandos face up to life in prison as the first to be prosecuted under India’s 2022 anti- piracy law, which enables the navy to apprehend and arrest pirates on the high seas.

The Somalis were using the Ruen as their “mother ship” to launch attacks on other vessels, navy Chief Admiral R Hari Kumar told a press conference marking the 100th day of the operations. The commandos rescued all 17 crew members.