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Iran Navy rescues tanker in Somalia

22 April 2010 12:19

Iran’s anti-piracy naval forces have rescued an Iranian oil supertanker following a Somali pirate attack in the dangerous waters of the Gulf of Aden.

The oil tanker was sailing from the southern Iranian Island of Khark to Egypt with a 300,000-ton cargo of crude oil worth USD 150 million, IRNA cited a navy statement.

The supertanker was reportedly attacked by a fleet of 15 pirate boats as soon as it entered the Gulf of Aden “a few days ago”, but the hijacking attempt was thwarted after the Iranian Navy exchanged fire with the sea bandits.

The vessel is now en route to its original destination with a naval escort.

Since November 2008, the Iranian Navy has dispatched seven naval vessels to patrol the pirate-infested waters of Somalia.

Despite an internationally-backed EU anti-piracy mission, heavily-armed bandits have become increasingly emboldened over the past few years and are spreading piracy further into the Indian Ocean.

Earlier this month, the Iranian Navy prevented a similar attack on another Iranian tanker bound for Turkey.

Last month, a group of Iranian fishermen were rescued by a Spanish frigate working under the European Union’s NAVFOR Somalia. Pirates had left the tied-up fishermen for dead after looting their goods and emptying their oil.

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