‚ÄúIn the last three years, around 3,000 cargo ships and oil tankers have been escorted by the Navy‚Äôs commandos and vessels,‚Äù Commander of the Iranian Navy‚Äôs Missile Program Admiral Ali Vafadar told FNA on Monday.
He also said that pirates’ attempts to hijack 147 cargo ships and oil tankers in international waters have been aborted due to the timely action of the Iranian warships deployed in the region.
Vafadar said that the Iranian naval forces have also managed to seize control of a number of pirate boats and vessels, arrest their crews and transferred them to Iran to stand trial for their crimes.
In relevant remarks in November, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said that his forces have escorted more than 2,000 oil tankers and cargo ships in the open seas and have engaged in more than 150 fierce clashes.
He reiterated that Iran has 3,000 kilometers of sea borders in the Northern and Southern parts of the country which is equal to one third of the country‚Äôs total borders.
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.
Sayyari also said last month that Iran plans to dispatch its next flotilla of warships to the high seas in early 2014 to protect the country‚Äôs cargo ships and oil tankers against pirate attacks.
‚ÄúThe Navy‚Äôs next flotilla will be dispatched to either the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic on January 21-Feb 20,‚Äù he said.
He underlined that the Navy‚Äôs flotilla will pass through the Mediterranean Sea to reach the Atlantic Ocean.