Iranian naval fleet returns home after 67-day mission in high seas

MNA – The Iranian Navy’s 61st flotilla of warships docked at the southern port city of Bandar Abbas on Wednesday after a 67-day mission in the international waters.

The flotilla, comprising Sabalan destroyer and a logistic warship named Bandar Abbas, had been dispatched to the international waters to safeguard the 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 flotilla traveled a total of 5,100 nautical miles during its overseas journey, which also took it to Oman’s port cities of Salalah and Sultan Qaboos.

It also participated in a joint drill with Oman’s naval forces last month.

Iran’s naval forces, in recent years, have increased their presence in the international waters to protect naval routes and provide security for trade vessels and oil tankers.

The 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.