Navy rescues 17 crew from hijacked ship


04:13 AM

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What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in news?
  • What is Maritime Piracy?
  • Threats posed by maritime piracy
  • Red Zone for Piracy
  • Steps taken to combat maritime piracy
  • Role of Indian Navy in fight against maritime piracy
  • Conclusion

Why in news?

Indian naval warship INS Kolkata thwarted an attack by pirates, leading to the rescue of 17 crew members and surrender of 35 Somali raiders. The pirate ship involved was an erstwhile merchant vessel MV Ruen that was hijacked by Somali pirates in December 2023.

Maritime Piracy

  • As per the Article 101 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), maritime piracy is when people on a private boat or ship commit crimes like kidnapping, violence, or robbery for personal gain.
    • UNCLOS is an international treaty which was adopted and signed in 1982 in Montego Bay, Jamaica
    • It lays down a comprehensive regime of law & order in world's oceans and seas establishing rules governing all uses of the oceans and their resources.
  • This happens on the open sea and is targeted at another vessel or its people and property.

Threats posed by maritime piracy

  • Physical Harm, Kidnapping and Associated Humanitarian Concerns:
    • Crew members and passengers may experience trauma and psychological distress as a result of piracy incidents
  • Disruption of Trade causing delays in the delivery of goods & impacting global trade.
  • Economic Losses: Businesses may suffer financial losses due to stolen cargo, ransom payments, increased insurance premiums, and the cost of implementing anti-piracy measures.
  • Impact on Fishing Industry: Pirates sometimes target fishing vessels, affecting the livelihoods of fishermen and the availability of seafood.
  • Environmental Risks: Pirates may engage in illegal activities, such as oil theft or dumping pollutants, posing environmental threats to marine ecosystems.
  • Security Concerns for coastal regions and international waters, requiring increased naval and maritime security efforts.
    • Piracy can be linked to broader security issues, such as terrorism and organized crime, creating challenges for international security.

Red Zone for Piracy

Steps taken to combat maritime piracy

Global Initiative

  • Operation Prosperity Guardian: It is a multinational military operation that began in December 2023 to respond to Houthi attacks on shipping in the Red Sea.
  • Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the safety of Maritime Navigation (1988)
  • Combined Maritime Forces (CMF): It is a partnership of 39 nations that work together to promote security, stability, and prosperity in international waters.
    • India is an associate member of the CMF.

Initiatives by India

  • Operational steps
    • Indian govt has deployed naval ships with armed helicopters to patrol the piracy prone areas.
    • The Indian Navy commenced anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden and East Coast of Africa from October 2008.
    • In recent years, task Groups comprising destroyers and frigates have been deployed to undertake maritime security operations and render assistance to merchant vessels in case of any incident.
    • Also, aerial surveillance by long-range maritime patrol aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) has been enhanced to have a complete maritime domain awareness.
  • India participates in the various multilateral fora that have been set up to combat piracy
    • The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) is a government-to-government agreement that aims to enhance multilateral cooperation among 16 regional countries.
    • The Regional Maritime Security Initiative (RMSI) is a partnership between regional nations with varying capabilities and capacities.
  • Institutions created by India
    • The Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) and Information Fusion Centre for Indian Ocean Region (IFC IOR) are institutions involved in maintaining maritime security.
    • Besides, Indian Navy also coordinates with Coast Guard to maintain enhanced surveillance within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
  • Legislative steps
    • India enacted the Maritime Anti-Piracy Act, 2022 to give effect to arrest and prosecute pirates and strengthen the fight against piracy.
    • Also, the government’s SAGAR (Security and Growth For All in the Region) Doctrine provides a framework for maritime co-operation in the Indian Ocean region.

Achievements of Indian Navy in fight against maritime piracy

  • A total of 3,440 ships and over 25,000 seafarers have been safely escorted.
  • Nil piracy incidents have been reported in Palk Strait.
  • The boundaries of the high-risk area that covered much of the Arabian Sea during the height of Somali piracy (2009-12) were pushed back westward primarily due to the efforts of the Indian Navy.
    • High Risk Area reflects the area where the threat from piracy exists.
  • Recent achievements
    • The rescue of a Sri Lankan fishing trawler, Lorenzo Putha, in a coordinated action with the Sri Lankan and Seychelles navies on January 29
    • The rescue of two Iranian flagged boats with Iranian and Pakistani crew by the Offshore Patrol Vessel INS Sumitra.
    • In March 2024, it foiled a piracy attempt on an Iranian-flagged fishing vessel with a crew of 11 Iranian & 8 Pakistani nationals along the East coast of Somalia.


Maritime piracy, driven by socio-economic, political, and environmental factors, remains a global threat despite efforts. Progress in reducing incidents via naval patrols and security measures is evident, yet challenges persist in poorly governed and economically unstable regions. Addressing piracy requires sustainable solutions and enhanced coordination among stakeholders.

Q1) What is India security and growth for all in the region?

SAGAR, used as a backronym or reverse acronym which stands for Security and Growth for All in the Region, is a label used by the Prime Minister and Government of India for India's vision and geopolitical framework of maritime cooperation in the Indian Ocean region.

 Q2) What is EEZ?

 EEZ stands for Exclusive Economic Zone. It's a section of the ocean where a coastal nation has authority over both living and nonliving resources.

Source: Navy rescues 17 from ship hijacked in December, 35 pirates surrender | Times of India | India Today | Economic Times