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09 Apr 2017

Indian, Pakistani, Chinese and Italian navy saves merchant vessel

Responding to a hijacking by pirates, the Indian, Chinese, Pakistan, and Italian navies carried out a joint operation to rescue a merchant vessel in the Gulf of Aden between Yemen and Somalia.

The Tuvalu-flagged bulk carrier (OS35) was then escorted to safety.

This marks the second major incidence of piracy in the region in a month's time.

In context

Joint anti-piracy operation by India, China, Pakistan, Italy

Piracy in Somalian waters

Piracy in Somalian waters was once serious threat to global maritime trade. However, the threat had lessened in recent years due to an international effort to curb piracy which included NATO ships and aircrafts patrolling the dangerous waters. NATO ended its mission in December 2016.


Details of the hijacking

The merchant vessel was on its way to the Yemeni port city of Aden from Kelang in Malaysia when pirates hijacked the ship.

On getting hijacked, the captain of the ship, along with the crew, locked themselves inside a strong room onboard.

The captain then sent out an SOS signal from the vessel to which the Indian, Chinese, Pakistani, and Italian navies reacted.

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Piracy on the rise again

After years of silence, piracy in Somalian waters is on the rise again. Earlier this month, Somali pirates seized a small boat and captured its Indian crew. Earlier, in March, Somali pirates hijacked an oil tanker, the first seizure of a large vessel since 2012.

Rescue operation

Details of the rescue operation

Upon receiving the SOS, the INS Mumbai and INS Tarkash responded immediately.

Meanwhile, Pakistani, Chinese, and Italian navy vessels also reached the spot.

The Indian Navy vessels provided communications and air support while the Chinese navy deployed 18 mean to clear the merchant vessel of pirates.

The search revealed that the pirates had fled the ship at night.

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