The Pakistan Navy has deployed ships in the Arabian Sea “in wake of recent maritime security incidents”, Radio Pakistan reported on Sunday.

The state broadcaster quoted a statement from the Pakistan Navy spokesperson as saying that ships were continuously patrolling the Arabian Sea to ensure safety of Pakistan’s trade routes.

He said continuous aerial surveillance of commercial passages was also being carried out to ensure the safety of Pakistan and international merchant ships.

The spokesperson categorically stated that the Pakistan Navy was well aware of its national responsibility to maintain maritime peace and order in the region, the report added.

The Pakistan Navy statement comes days after the Indian navy rescued 21 crew members from a vessel in the Arabian Sea after a hijacking distress call, in what was the latest attack on commercial shipping in the region.

The move came after many vessels were rerouted from the Red Sea due to drone and missile attacks claimed by Yemen’s Houthis “in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza”.

On Friday, an Indian navy statement said 21 crew members, including 15 Indian nationals, aboard the MV Lila Norfolk, had been evacuated from the ship’s citadel — a fortified section of commercial vessels used as a refuge during pirate attacks.

The 84,000-tonne bulk carrier had been boarded by five or six “unknown armed personnel” on Thursday evening, but the attempted hijacking was “probably abandoned” after a forceful warning by the Indian Navy, the statement added.

The hijacking and attempted hijacking of commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea resumed in December after a six-year lull. Experts believe pirates have been encouraged by US-led anti-piracy naval forces diverting their attention to the neighbouring Red Sea to thwart attacks there by Houthi rebels.

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