TEHRAN (FNA)- The Iranian warships patrolling the regional waters have rescued several trade vessels in three combat operations against sea pirates in the Red Sea during the last four days, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said Tuesday.
“We have had three battles against pirates in the high seas, specially in the Red Sea, just in the current week, which has resulted in rescuing several Iranian ships from organized attacks by sea pirates,” the Iranian Navy commander said on Tuesday.
The Admiral said his forces conduct reconnaissance and relief operations in the Strait of Hormuz, the Sea of Oman and the Northern Indian Ocean.
The commander further pointed to the frequent cases of aid and assistance by the Iranian warships to the vessels of other countries in international waters, including “the rescue and escort of large trade ships and vessels of nearly 25 countries in the Gulf of Aden”.
He reminded the rescue of a Chinese ship that was under complete siege of the pirates, and said “the rescue operation was carried out at the request of the Chinese government” which later offered its official appreciation and gratitude to Iran for the successful operation.
Rear Admiral Sayyari said that the Navy also rescued a Liberia-flagged merchant ship in the Sea of Oman in 2011 after the foreign vessel declared state of emergency, adding that the captain of the vessel had informed that five of his crew members were badly burnt and were in need of immediate medical aid.
Then, Iran sent its choppers to the troubled vessel and transferred the wounded to medical center immediately, the Admiral continued.
Last week, Iranian Navy warships rescued two cargo ships in Bab el-Mendeb and the Gulf of Aden after tough battles with pirates in the high seas.
In the first battle, the timely presence and action of the Iranian Navy’s 31st Flotilla thwarted an attack by eight pirate speed boats, equipped with various light and semi-heavy weapons, on a cargo ship in the Northern waters of Bab el-Mendeb, forcing the pirates to flee the scene.
In the second rescue mission, the Iranian warships also thwarted a similar attack by six pirate boats on another ship in the Gulf of Aden and also forced the pirates to escape.
The cargo ships were carrying medical and pharmaceutical products as well as raw factory materials worth millions of dollars to Iran.
In late July, the Iranian Navy dispatched its 31st flotilla to the Gulf of Aden and the high seas to protect the country’s cargo ships and oil tankers against pirates.
On August 24, the 31st Fleet of the Iranian Navy, comprised of Bayandor destroyer and Bandar Abbas logistic warship, docked at Djibouti port with the message of peace and friendship after sailing 2,200 nautical miles in free waters.
The fleet of warships had escorted 670 military and cargo ships and identified and traced trans-regional vessels and aircraft by then.
Iran’s 30th flotilla of warships ended its mission in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean and returned home in July.
The Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, when Somali raiders hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off the coast of Yemen.
According to UN Security Council resolutions, different countries can send their warships to the Gulf of Aden and coastal waters of Somalia against the pirates and even with prior notice to Somali government enter the territorial waters of that country in pursuit of Somali sea pirates.
The Gulf of Aden – which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea – is an important energy corridor, particularly because Persian Gulf oil is shipped to the West via the Suez Canal.
Maritime Security News Note:
Ah, the Iranian Navy and their continued claims of ‘battles’ with Somali pirates, whom they ‘thwart’ with stunning regularity. Despite the best efforts of the Combined Maritime Forces, EU NAVFOR’s Operation Atalanta, NATO’s Operation Ocean Shield and various American, Russian and Chinese naval vessels, the Japanese and the South Koreans, no-one finds pirates with the same frequency as the Iranians. Nor does anyone else engage them in battle so often.
To quote an internet meme: ‘pics or it didn’t happen’.