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A day after rescuing a hijacked Iranian fishing vessel and its 23-member Pakistani crew under an anti-piracy operation at sea, the Indian Navy on Saturday said the nine surrendered pirates are being brought to India for further legal action.

Action will be taken against them under the Maritime Anti-Piracy Act, 2022. The Indian Navy’s specialist teams have completed sanitisation and seaworthiness checks of the fishing vessel Al-Kambar, according to a statement shared by the Navy’s spokesperson.

“The crew, comprising 23 Pakistani nationals, were given a thorough medical checkup before clearing the boat to continue with her fishing activities,” it said.

The Indian Navy on Friday rescued the hijacked Iranian fishing vessel and its crew, after more than 12 hours of “intense coercive tactical measures” as part of the anti-piracy operation.

The hijacked vessel was intercepted on Thursday, the Navy said on Friday.

“INS Sumedha intercepted FV ‘Al Kambar’ during the early hours of Friday and was joined subsequently by the guided missile frigate INS Trishul,” it said.

“After more than 12 hours of intense coercive tactical measures as per the SOPs, the pirates on board the hijacked fishing vessel were forced to surrender. The crew, comprising 23 Pakistani nationals, have been safely rescued,” the Indian Navy has added.

The Indian Navy on Saturday said these “nine pirates are being brought to India to face legal action”, by the the Maritime Anti-Piracy Act, 2022.

The fishing vessel at the time of the incident was approximately 90 nm southwest of Socotra and was “reported to have been boarded by nine armed pirates,” it said.

The Indian Navy said it remains committed to ensuring maritime security in the region and the safety of seafarers, “irrespective of the nationalities”.

Socotra Archipelago is in the northwest Indian Ocean near the Gulf of Aden.

The fresh anti-piracy action by the Indian Navy further cements its role as the first responder that the naval force seeks to play in the Indian Ocean Region.

The action comes two weeks after it had rescued another vessel ‘Ruen’ and 17 hostages and captured 35 armed pirates in a nearly 40-hour dramatic mid-sea operation.

Firm actions by the Indian Navy had resulted in the surrender of the pirate ship ex-MV Ruen on March 16, Navy officials had said.

The Navy had seized the former Maltese-flagged vessel in the operation around 2,600 km from the Indian coast which experts said was the first such successful takeover of a cargo ship from the Somali pirates in the last seven years.

In the projection of India’s growing maritime power, the Navy executed the operation on March 16 ending a three-month hijacking of the bulk carrier with the deployment of its warship INS Kolkata, long-endurance Sea Guardian drones, P-8I surveillance aircraft and airdropping of elite MARCOS commandos from a C-17 plane.

INS Kolkata, carrying 35 pirates who were apprehended in an operation off the coast of Somalia, reached Mumbai on March 23. These pirates were then handed over to the Mumbai police for further legal action.

The Indian Navy will take “affirmative action” to ensure a safer and more secure Indian Ocean Region, its chief Admiral R Hari Kumar had said on March 23 while citing the anti-piracy and other maritime security operations undertaken by the naval force in the preceding 100 days under ‘Op Sankalp’.

As part of maritime security operations, the Navy has undertaken anti-piracy, anti-missiles and anti-drones operations; 110 lives — 45 Indians and 65 foreign nationals — have been saved during ‘Op Sankalp’ in those 100 days, according to a PPT presentation that a Navy officer gave before the press conference of the Navy chief on March 23.

It was also mentioned in the presentation that from November last year till March, “more than 90 maritime incidents have happened”, including 57 drone or missile attacks or sightings; and 39 incidents that include piracy, hijacking, or suspicious approaches.