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Iran to attend Abu-Dhabi navy summit

10 May 2010 10:03

Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari will visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to attend the third Indian Ocean Naval Symposium.

The two-day summit, which will take place from May 10 to 12, will draw commanders and senior figures from 33 navies to Abu Dhabi with the main aim of exploring ways to preserve maritime security in the face of the rising tide of piracy and smuggling.

Sayyari, heading a high-ranking delegation, is slated to take part in the conference at the invitation of his UAE counterpart Staff Brigadier Ibrahim al-Musharakh.

Al-Musharakh had told The National earlier in April that the summit, which is entitled “Together for the Reinforcement of Maritime Security”, is of great significance for navies that play a major role in the security of key shipping lanes in the region.

“The whole Indian Ocean is affected by piracy so all the countries that overlook the Indian Ocean should have a role,” al-Musharakh had said.

“It’s significant [that] it’s being held here. We are part of the Indian Ocean community and this phenomenon of piracy affects this country, this region and there have been incidents close to home,” he added.

The meeting will likely revolve around the recent spate of attacks by Somali pirates on merchant ships and oil tankers passing through Suez Canal.

In recent years, Somali sea gangs have managed to bag millions of dollars in ransoms by prowling the Gulf of Aden, which is an important energy corridor, particularly for Persian Gulf oil heading west through the Suez Canal

According to Ecoterra International, an environmentalist NGO monitoring maritime activity in the region, more than 25 ships are currently being held by the pirates.

The attacks have reportedly doubled in 2009 from the previous year and now pose a serious threat to maritime security.

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