Pakistan has increased naval and aerial surveillance of the Arabian Sea to protect traffic in international shipping lanes “in the wake of the recent maritime security incidents” in the Arabian Sea, the Pakistan Navy said on January 7.
The development followed recent maritime security incidents, including the interception of a Bahrain-bound bulk carrier by the Indian Navy amid reports of hijacking off the coast of Somalia.
“The Pakistan Navy is ensuring a permanent presence in the Arabian Sea to keep our and international Sea Lines of Communications under intense surveillance,” Navy’s Director General of Public Relations said in a recent statement.
The statement added that the aerial monitoring has also increased along with the consistent patrolling of the regions visited by both Pakistan-bound and international merchant vessels.
“Two to three ships are always patrolling the areas [where] Pakistan-bound and international merchant ships are plying. In addition, extensive air surveillance is also being undertaken to ensure the safety of international sea lines of communications passing through our maritime area.”
Earlier, Reuters reported that the hijacking and attempted hijacking of commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea resumed in December after a six-year quiet.
The resurgence of hijacking incidents in the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea, as reported by Reuters, resumed in December after a six-year quiet.
Experts point to a shift in attention by US-led anti-piracy naval forces towards the Red Sea, leaving a vacuum that emboldened pirates to resume their activities.
Maritime disruptions were attributed to be occurred due to Houthi attacks on vessels in the Gulf region, showing solidarity with the people of Gaza. Major shippers, including Maersk, redirected vessels away from the Red Sea, prompted by Houthi drone and gunboat attacks.
India, although not part of the US-led task force in the Red Sea, has also deployed ships in the region.
In response to the recent hijacking attempt, India announced protective escorts for its container ships in the high seas around the Red Sea.
The Indian Navy has deployed task groups of frigates and destroyers in the central and northern Arabian Sea to assist merchant vessels.
“Aerial surveillance by long-range maritime patrol aircraft and RPAs (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) has been enhanced to have a complete maritime domain awareness,” Reuters quoted a statement as saying.