Hijacked ship MV Ruen freed, 35 Somali pirates detained

The hijacking of the Ruen was the first successful takeover of a vessel involving Somali pirates since 2017 when an international crackdown stopped seizures in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.

By REUTERS
Updated: MARCH 16, 2024 21:26
The Maltese-flagged bulk cargo vessel Ruen seized by Somali pirates, which was intercepted by the Indian Navy, is pictured at sea, in this handout photo released on March 16, 2024.
(photo credit: VIA REUTERS)

The Indian navy has freed the hijacked ship MV Ruen and detained 35 Somali pirates, Ahmed Yassin Saleh, minister for ports and maritime transport in Somalia’s semi-autonomous region of Puntland told Reuters on Saturday.

“The Indian Navy successfully conducted the operation which has been going on since last night. The navy captured 35 pirates and released the MV Ruen Ship and its crew are safe,” Saleh told Reuters.

Indian naval forces including special commandos seized the cargo vessel that had been hijacked by Somali pirates, rescuing 17 crew members, a spokesperson for the navy said on Saturday.

The navy said in a post on social media platform X that all 35 pirates aboard the ship, the Maltese-flagged bulk cargo vessel Ruen, had surrendered, and the ship had been checked for the presence of illegal arms, ammunition and contraband.

The Ruen had been hijacked last year and the navy said it had intercepted the vessel on Friday.

People with weapons stand onboard the Maltese-flagged bulk cargo vessel Ruen seized by Somali pirates, which was intercepted by the Indian Navy, at sea, in this handout photo released on March 16, 2024. (credit: VIA REUTERS)

The vessel may have been used as the base for the takeover of a Bangladesh-flagged cargo ship off the coast of Somalia earlier this week, the European Union naval force said.

The hijacking of the Ruen was the first successful takeover of a vessel involving Somali pirates since 2017 when a crackdown by international navies stopped a rash of seizures in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.

Somali pirates had caused chaos in important global waterways for a decade but had been dormant until a resurgence of attacks starting late last year.

India deploys at least a dozen warships east of the Red Sea to provide security against pirates as Western powers focus on attacks by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthis.

At least 17 incidents of hijacking, attempted hijacking and suspicious approaches had been recorded by the Indian Navy since Dec. 1, Indian officials previously said.

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By REUTERS