A wounded sailor from a commandeered ship was transferred to an Indian stealth warship for medical attention.

The Maltese-flagged commerce vessel was being pursued by the Indian destroyer INS Kochi, which had marine commandos on board, shortly after it was taken over.

Officials with knowledge of the situation revealed on Tuesday that one of the eighteen sailors aboard the hijacked merchant ship Ruen was hurt and was moved to the Indian stealth destroyer INS Kochi on Monday for medical attention. They said that after receiving treatment on board, the sailor is currently being sent to a medical centre on land for additional assessment.

After the sailor was hurt, the pirates permitted his evacuation from Ruen. He required immediate medical assistance. One of the officers, who wished to remain anonymous, stated, “He is being sent to a hospital on the coast. It was not immediately clear how the Bulgarian sailor sustained his injuries. The Maltese-flagged commerce vessel that was taken over by unidentified assailants in the Arabian Sea on December 14 was being pursued by the Indian warship carrying marine commandos. An Indian Navy P-8I maritime patrol aircraft found Ruen for the first time on December 15, and the destroyer intercepted it the following day.

The EU marine security mission in the western Indian Ocean, known as EUNAVFOR mission Atalanta, also sprang into action to support the anti-piracy campaign. The firm controlling the vessel said that it thought the crew had lost control after Ruen, on December 14, relayed a distress call to the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO), the position reporting and emergency event response interface with merchant ships at sea.

According to a UKMTO security report, Ruen was at that point around 680 nautical miles east of Bosaso, the commercial hub of Somalia’s breakaway Puntland region. Navigation Maritime Bulgare (Navibulgar), a shipping firm based in Bulgaria, is in charge of managing the bulk carrier. The crew of Ruen hails from Myanmar, Angola, and Bulgaria.

The Ruen incident has reignited interest in Arabian Sea piracy. Pirate attacks in the area peaked between 2008 and 2013, but because to the coordinated actions of the multi-national marine task force based there, they have been progressively declining since then.

According to EUNAVFOR data, the region was responsible for nearly 700 pirate attacks between 2008 and 2013, but between 2014 and 2019, that number plummeted to just 16. The event on December 14 was the first in the previous three years. The EUNAVFOR statistics include all attacks carried out by alleged pirates, regardless of whether they were successful or not, and whether they resulted in ships falling into the hands of pirates and sailors being held captive.

For over fifteen years, the Indian Navy has been stationed in the Gulf of Aden. Since October 23, 2008, one Indian warship has been conducting round-the-clock anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden to safeguard Indian seaborne trade, boost trust among seafarers, and serve as a deterrence to pirates. In order to guarantee the safe passage of commerce boats flying the Indian flag, 107 Indian warships have been stationed in the Gulf of Aden thus far. These warships have successfully repelled several piracy attempts and have safely escorted thousands of ships carrying tens of thousands of Indian sailors.

In the meantime, a major gathering in Thailand was opened by the naval chiefs of many nations with interests in the vital Indian Ocean region on Tuesday. There, they will talk about enhancing maritime collaboration, tackling issues in the wide region, and fortifying the region’s security framework.

The four-day Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) in Bangkok coincides with a number of security challenges the region is currently facing, including the apparent resurgence of piracy and Houthi militia targeting commercial shipping in the Red Sea following the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict on October 7, according to Hindustan Times.

Hamas has received backing from the Houthi rebels, who are backed by Iran. The Houthi strikes have caused a number of shipping companies to halt operations in the Red Sea. Admiral R Hari Kumar, the head of the Indian Navy, is in attendance at the symposium, which is a voluntary effort to improve marine cooperation between the fleets of the littoral states surrounding the Indian Ocean. There are eight observers and 25 member nations that make up the IONS grouping. The eighth edition of IONS will focus on the theme “Blue Economy: Ways Forward for Sustainable Development of IONS Member States.” The first edition of IONS was held in India in 2008; it was conceptualised by the Indian Navy and is held every two years.

By working with all of its members to identify pertinent solutions for regional maritime security, IONS aims to achieve mutually beneficial results for maritime security in the area.

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