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Pirates demand $5mn ransom for release of Bangladeshi crew of MV Abdullah

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SOMALIA : Pirates have demanded a staggering $5 million (₹420 million) for release of 23 Bangladeshi crew held captive aboard the ship MV Abdullah. The Bangladeshi-flagged vessel was seized earlier this month while en route from Mozambique to the United Arab Emirates, and subsequently taken to Somalia by the pirates. The development comes amid an increased risk of piracy in the western Indian Ocean which has increased with Yemen’s Houthi rebels targeting ships going to or from Israel in the Red Sea region.

Indian Navy swiftly responded to a piracy attack on the Bangladeshi-flagged MV Abdullah, deploying both a warship and an LRMP- long-range maritime patrol. The Indian warship intercepted the hijacked vessel on March 14, ensuring the initial safety of the Bangladeshi crew held hostage by armed pirates and maintaining proximity until it arrived in Somalia’s territorial waters.

Indian Navy has offered to the Bangladesh government and the ship’s owner to conduct operations aboard the smuggled ship MV Abdullah.

On Saturday (March 23), Indian Navy Chief Adm R Hari Kumar said that Indian Navy is “keeping a close watch” on MV Abdullah situation after it has been taken to Somalia. He highlighted that it could be made into a “mother ship” for pirates.

This latest incident follows a successful operation by India earlier this month involving the MV Ruen, which was similarly hijacked and transformed into a mothership for piracy.

The Indian Navy’s decisive action led to the apprehension of 35 Somali pirates and the rescue of 11 crew members from various nationalities. 

In the past 100 days, the Indian Navy has taken robust measures to address threats in the western Indian Ocean, responding to 13 major incidents including piracy, hijacking, and drone attacks, resulting in the saving of 110 lives.

With 5,000 naval personnel deployed at sea at various times and a fleet of several warships equipped with helicopters and advanced surveillance capabilities, the Indian Navy has effectively countered threats to maritime security.

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