India to Prosecute Somali Pirates Seized in 'Ruen' Hijacking

World | March 20, 2024, Wednesday // 16:12
Bulgaria: India to Prosecute Somali Pirates Seized in 'Ruen' Hijacking

India has announced plans to arrest and charge the 35 Somali pirates apprehended by its navy during the hijacking of the Malta-flagged vessel "Ruen" off the coast of Somalia. This decision marks a departure from previous practices, where disarmed pirates were typically left at sea after ship rescues.

The decision was confirmed by a naval official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity. According to the official, the captured pirates are expected to arrive in India on Saturday, where they will be handed over to law enforcement authorities for prosecution. While the exact charges against the pirates remain unclear, the official emphasized the Indian navy's commitment to holding them accountable for their actions.

The dramatic rescue operation unfolded when Indian navy commandos successfully freed the "Ruen" on Saturday, ending its ordeal at the hands of Somali pirates. The ship, owned by the "BULGARIAN MARITIME NAVIGATION" Shipping Company, had been hijacked on December 14, 450 nautical miles east of Socotra in the northern Arabian Sea.

The hijacking marked the first instance of Somali piracy targeting a merchant vessel since 2017. At the height of their activities in 2011, Somali pirates inflicted significant financial losses on the global economy, including millions of dollars in ransom payments.

While India had previously prosecuted and jailed pirates involved in major raids, recent months had seen a shift in approach, with pirates released at sea. However, the pirates responsible for the "Ruen" hijacking will face trial in India, marking a significant departure from recent practice.

India's increased naval presence in the Gulf of Aden and the northern Arabian Sea since December aims to bolster security in the region, particularly amidst threats posed by Yemen's Houthi rebels. The Indian navy has maintained continuous surveillance in the area, utilizing aerial platforms and intelligence gathered from other vessels.

The interception of the "Ruen" underscores the ongoing threat posed by Somali piracy, with pirates using the vessel as a "mother ship" to launch attacks on other vessels. The successful operation by the Indian navy serves as a testament to their commitment to maritime security and combating piracy in the region.

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Tags: India, pirates, Ruen, hijacking

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