Indian Navy hands over 35 Somali pirates to Mumbai police | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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Indian Navy hands over 35 Somali pirates to Mumbai police

ByVinay Dalvi
Mar 24, 2024 02:34 AM IST

The police said after hijacking MV Ruen, which had around 17 crew members, the pirates demanded ₹500 crore as ransom to free the ship and the crew.

Mumbai: The Indian Navy on Saturday brought 35 Somali pirates to Mumbai aboard the warship INS Kolkata, days after they were captured by Indian forces in the Arabian Sea around 260 nautical miles from the Garacad Port, Puntland, Somalia. The operation freed a hijacked bulk carrier and rescued several hostages.

Mumbai, India. Mar 23,2024 : INS Kolkata, with the 35 apprehended pirates returned to Mumbai and handed over the Pirates to the Mumbai police for further legal action in accordance with Indian laws, specifically the Maritime Anti Piracy Act 2022. Mar 23,2024. (Photo by Raju Shinde/HT Photo)
Mumbai, India. Mar 23,2024 : INS Kolkata, with the 35 apprehended pirates returned to Mumbai and handed over the Pirates to the Mumbai police for further legal action in accordance with Indian laws, specifically the Maritime Anti Piracy Act 2022. Mar 23,2024. (Photo by Raju Shinde/HT Photo)

The pirates stood in a queue at Naval Dockyard and the Mumbai Police assigned them chest numbers. From the dockyard, the pirates were taken to the civic-run JJ Hospital for medical examination.

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The police said after hijacking a cargo ship, MV Ruen, which had around 17 crew members, the pirates had called the owners, demanding 500 crore as ransom to free the ship and the crew. That was when the Indian Navy’s INS Kolkata reached the spot, rescued the crew and the ship and apprehended the pirates.

“On Saturday, the Indian Navy handed us all the 35 Somalian Pirates who were brought to Tiger Gate, Naval Dockyard by INS Kolkata. We have arrested them in the case registered following a formal complaint lodged by INS Kolkata’s regulating officer, Ajay Kumar,” said Sanjay Latkar, deputy commissioner of police, Port Zone.

The Pirates have been booked under sections 364A (kidnapping for ransom), 383 (extortion), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 342 (wrongful confinement for ten or more days), 307 (attempt to murder), 506 (criminal intimidation) and under relevant sections of the Maritime Anti-Piracy Act, 2022, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 and the Arms Act, 1959.

Latkar said they will have to hire a person knowing the Somali language to communicate with the arrested Pirates, as they do not know any other language.

The pirates were apprehended on March 16 after a 40-hour combat by the Indian Navy and marine commandos air-dropped by the Indian Air Force. INS Kolkata, by intercepting MV Ruen on March 16, thwarted the designs of the Somali pirates to hijack the ship transiting through the region. The Bulgarian-owned merchant vessel had been hijacked in December 2023 and was under the control of the Somali pirates till now.

The Indian Navy, as part of maritime security operations, has been carrying out extensive surveillance in the region, including monitoring traffic in areas of India’s interest. Based on the analysis of the surveillance information, it was able to track the movement of M V Ruen and directed INS Kolkata to intercept the ship at approximately 260 nautical miles east of Somalia.

The ship was intercepted on March 15 and confirmed by the presence of armed pirates through a ship-launched drone. In a reckless hostile act, the pirates shot down the drone and fired at the Indian naval warship. In a calibrated response, INS Kolkata disabled the ship’s steering system and navigational aids, forcing the pirate ship to stop.

The Indian navy ship undertook precisely measured actions while maintaining its position close to the pirate ship and engaged in forceful negotiations, which resulted in all 35 pirates surrendering and releasing M V Ruen. All the 17 original crew members of M V Ruen were also safely evacuated from the pirate vessel without any injury. The vessel has been cleared of illegal arms, ammunition and contraband.

The police said the Navy handed them 2 small boats, 3 engines, 9 mobile phones, 196 live cartridges, a knife, a camera, Somalian and Bulgarian passports of some of the arrested pirates.

“We will produce the arrested pirates before a court on Sunday,” said Latkar.

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