Iranian Navy sends 61st flotilla to Bab-el-Mandeb Strait

MNA – The Iranian Navy has dispatched its 61st flotilla to Bab-el-Mandab Strait to safeguard maritime routes used by Iranian vessels, Commander of the Iranian Navy’s Southern Fleet Rear Admiral Afshin Tashk said on Sunday.

The navy chief added that the fleet, which consists of Sabalan destroyer and a logistic warship named Bandar Abbas, set off on Saturday for the international waters to safeguard maritime routes used by Iranian vessels, especially in the strategic strait of Bab-el-Mandab, which links the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea.

The Iranian Navy’s 60th flotilla, comprising of ‘Bayandor’ destroyer, Bushehr logistic warship, and Lavan warship, has just returned home after 52 days of a voyage in international waters. The flotilla’s mission included visits to Sri Lanka and Sultan Qaboos port, the largest port in Muscat, Oman, for a four-day stay.

According to reports on Friday, Iran’s 60th flotilla conducted a successful operation in the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, thwarting a pirate attack on one of the country’s oil tankers.

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.