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Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral R Hari Kumar on Saturday said that the Indian Navy ships deployed in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden will ensure the safety of seafarers. “As part of the ongoing Operation Sankalp, Indian Navy ships are deployed in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden towards the safety of seafarers and mercantile trade passing through the region,” the Indian Navy Chief said.

He said that the Indian Navy displayed have high degree of professionalism and upheld the principles of international law and commitment to ensuring safe seas and maritime security in the region.

Earlier, the Navy’s INS Kolkata with the 35 apprehended pirates returned to Mumbai and handed over the pirates to the local police for further legal action.

On March 15, in an operation lasting over 40 hours, the INS Kolkata intercepted pirate ship ex-MV Ruen in the Arabian Sea. The ship was used for piracy attacks and hijacking of merchantmen.

Admiral Kumar said that INS Kolkata directed the Pirate Ship to stop for investigation. However, the pirate ship refused to comply and instead opened fire.

“INS Kolkata thereafter acted in self-defence and used kinetic measures required to disable the ship and compel the pirates to surrender. INS Subhadra joined INS Kolkata in this operation. The Navy undertook long-range deployment and para drop of Marine Commandos in the vicinity of the pirate ship using C17s in coordination with the Indian Air Force. Aerial surveillance for the operation was undertaken by Indian Navy P8I aircraft, Sea Guardian UAV, and the ship’s integral helicopters and spotter drones,” the Naval Chief said.

He said In the face of decisive action by the Indian Navy, all pirates onboard surrendered. The 35 pirates and 17 crew members were duly taken into custody and shifted to Indian Naval ships.

On request from the ship’s original company, M/s Navibulgar, and the Master, the crew of MV Ruen were reinstated onboard the ship, which reverted her to earlier status and the ship hoisted the flag of Malta.

He said that the MV Ruen thereupon proceeded under power to the next port of Salalah (Oman), as decided by the company, under the escort of INS Subhadra to safeguard it against further pirate attack.