Commander: Iran deploys naval forces wherever necessary

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari voiced his forces’ readiness to assist other states’ warships in the international waters.

“The Navy personnel and officers have shown that they are prepared to deploy anywhere necessary and such a readiness and self-confidence is admirable,” Sayyari said in Bandar Abbas port city, Southern Iran, on Tuesday, addressing a ceremony to welcome the Navy’s 33rd fleet of warships dispatched to the high seas after a 77-day mission.

He referred to the missions of the Iranian Navy’s flotilla of warships in the free waters, specially the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, and said, “The main responsibility of these warships is providing security of our country’s shipping lines in the high seas and they are, of course, ready to help other countries’ units upon their demand as well.”

The Iranian Navy’s 33rd flotilla of warships, comprised of martyr vice-admiral Naqdi destroyer and Bandar Abbas logistic warship left Bandar Abbas port 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 flotilla of warships ended its mission in the Gulf of Aden, and returned home yesterday after tracing and identifying 782 cargo ships, 29 navy vessels and 5 fighter jets during its mission. It also had communications with 20 oil tankers which appreciated the Iranian fleet’s measures and efforts in protecting security in international waters.

The 33rd flotilla returned to Iran after 77 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.

By Fars News Agency