Join our crew and become one of the 105,836 members that receive our newsletter.

An Indian Navy helicopter hovers over captured pirates on the deck of the MV Ruen after retaking the ship. Photo courtesy Indian Navy

An Indian Navy helicopter hovers over captured pirates on the deck of the MV Ruen after retaking the ship. Photo courtesy Indian Navy

Indian Navy Rescues Hijacked ‘Ruen’ from Somali Pirates

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 6085
March 16, 2024

The Indian Navy has successfully recaptured the MV Ruen and rescued all 17 crew members who have been held captive by pirates off the coast of Somalia for three months. All 35 pirates on board have been apprehended.

There have been no reported injuries among the crew.

The operation took place after the Indian Navy’s destroyer, INS Kolkata, intercepted the vessel on Friday in the Indian Ocean. The Ruen had set sail from Somalia’s central coast earlier this week, allegedly to carry out more attacks.

Once on scene, pirates opened fire on an Indian Navy helicopter and a standoff ensued. With the INS Subhadra providing assistance, a specialized Navy unit was able to corner the pirates, leading to their surrender.

“#INSKolkata, in the last 40 hours, through concerted actions successfully cornered and coerced all 35 Pirates to surrender & ensured safe evacuation of 17 crew members in the evening today #16Mar 24 from the pirate vessel without any injury,” the Indian Navy said in an update posted to “X”.

The Maltese-flagged Ruen was hijacked by pirates nearly 800 miles from Somalia on December 14, marking the first successful hijacking of a commercial ship by Somali pirates since 2017. Pirates sailed the ship back to Somali waters where it was being held.

The operation comes after pirates hijacked the Bangladesh-flagged bulk Abdullah this past Tuesday approximately 690 miles east of Mogadishu, Somalia, taking 23 crew members hostage. The ship has since arrived off the coast of Somalia, near the location where the Ruen was being held.

The European Union’s counter-piracy naval operation, EUNAVFOR’s Operation ATALANTA, has been leading the response to the incident.

The region has seen an upswing in piracy following multiple dhow hijackings in the eastern Gulf of Aden and the Somali basin in recent months. EUNAVFOR reported this week it has identified three groups of suspected pirates along the Somali Coast where the attacks are believed to be being launched from. It had previously warned that several pirate action groups are believed to be operating from motherships in the Indian Ocean, with operational range is reported to be up to 1,000 nautical miles from Somalia.

In another incident in early January, pirates boarded the M/V Lila Norfolk in the Arabian Sea. However, they fled the vessel by the time the Indian Navy arrived.

The successful rescue of the Ruen could be a pivotal moment for the piracy situation in the region, given that the pirates failed to obtain a ransom for the ship.

The incidents comes after the shipping industry removed the “high risk area” designation for the Indian Ocean in 2023. The High Risk Area was introduced in 2010 during the peak of the Somali piracy threat. At its height in 2010 and 2011, pirates carried out 415 attacks and nearly 80 successful hijackings over the two-year period.

Unlock Exclusive Insights Today!

Join the gCaptain Club for curated content, insider opinions, and vibrant community discussions.

Sign Up
Back to Main
polygon icon polygon icon

Why Join the gCaptain Club?

Access exclusive insights, engage in vibrant discussions, and gain perspectives from our CEO.

Sign Up


Maritime and offshore news trusted by our 105,836 members delivered daily straight to your inbox.

Join Our Crew

Join the 105,836 members that receive our newsletter.