Iranian Navy Thwarts Pirate Attack on Oil Tanker

TEHRAN (FNA)- An attempt by pirates to hijack an Iranian oil tanker in a strait connecting the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden was foiled after an Iranian fleet of warships present in the region rushed to the scene.

Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Navy Rear Admiral Seyed Mahmoud Moussavi said that the Iranian oil tanker came under attack by 35 Somali pirate speedboats near the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait.

Moussavi stated that the Iranian naval forces' swift action forced the pirates to flee the scene.

No injuries were reported among the crews of the Iranian ships.

The Iranian Navy dispatched its 18th flotilla of warships to the Gulf of Aden on January 21 to protect the country's cargo ships and oil tankers against Somali pirates.

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 through the Suez Canal.