Since one of the main missions of the Iranian fleets sent to the free waters is safeguarding the cargo ships and shipping lines against threats, specially pirate attacks, exercising the fire power and shooting down hostile flying targets is one of the most important operations during these missions.
During the nightly exercises by the Iranian warships, four 20-mm cannons of Bandar Abbas warship and the 40-mm and 20-mm artillery systems fired at mock flying targets.
The Iranian Navy’s 33rd flotilla of warships, which is comprised of martyr vice-admiral Naqdi destroyer and Bandar Abbas logistic warship for intelligence-gathering, operational and training missions, left Bandar Abbas port in Southern Iran for the Gulf of Aden late January to protect the country’s cargo ships and oil tankers against pirates.
Iran’s 33rd fleet of warships berthed in Cochin Port, India, on March 24. Earlier, the flotilla had docked in Tanjung Priok port of Indonesia and Colombo port of Sri Lanka in February.
The Iranian Navy’s 32nd flotilla of warships ended its mission in the Gulf of Aden, and returned home mid January after thwarting 5 pirate attacks on the country’s oil tankers and cargo ships.
The 32nd flotilla, consisting of Jamaran and Bushehr destroyers, returned to Iran after 80 days of missions in the Sea of Oman, North of the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden, Bab al-Mandab Strait and the Red Sea.
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.