Iranian Navy’s 34th Flotilla Off to Gulf of Aden
The Iranian Navy’s 34th flotilla of warships left Bandar Abbas port, in Southern Hormozgan province, for the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday to protect the country’s cargo ships and oil tankers against pirates.
The Navy’s 34th Fleet, comprising Alborz destroyer and Bushehr helicopter-carrier warship, will conduct anti-piracy patrols in the high seas and Gulf of Aden.
The mission of the 34th fleet will last about three months in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.
Earlier today, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari rejected media reports alleging that the country’s warships have been driven out of the Gulf of Aden by Egyptian warships, stressing that regional conflicts do not affect the Iranian Navy’s missions.
“The Navy warships powerfully safeguard the Islamic Republic’s interests in free waters and will be deployed in any region if necessary,” Sayyari told FNA in Bandar Abbas port city, Southern Iran, on the sidelines of a ceremony to welcome the Navy’s 33rd fleet of warships dispatched to the high seas after a 77-day mission.
Stressing that regional conflicts don’t have any effect on the mission of the Iranian fleet of warships in the international waters, he said, “We deploy our warships in free waters based on the international laws and combat sea terrorism and safeguard our country’s shipping lines very powerfully.”
Sayyari underlined that Iran doesn’t allow anyone to drive out its fleet of warships from the international waters.
In relevant remarks late in March, Sayyari dismissed allegations that the Iranian flotilla had received warnings by the Egyptian warships, and said, “The Iranian Navy warships are patrolling in the Northern Indian Ocean and fulfilling their missions with full force and observing the international laws … and they do not allow any foreign warship to warn them and shoo them away… .”
Also last month, Commander of Iran’s 33rd fleet of warships Commodore Ahmadi Kermanshahi rejected the report, saying the Iranian warships had no contact with Egyptian vessels and when the website was making these allegations, they were in India’s Cochin port.
He underlined that the presence of Iran’s naval warships in the Gulf of Aden is aimed at establishing security for cargo ships and sending message of peace and friendship to the regional countries.
On Tuesday, the Iranian Navy’s 33rd fleet of warships dispatched to the high seas on a 77-day mission returned home and berthed in Bandar Abbas port in Iran’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf.
The Iranian Navy’s 33rd flotilla of warships, comprised of martyr vice-admiral Naqdi destroyer and Bandar Abbas logistic warship left Bandar Abbas port for the Gulf of Aden late January to protect the country’s cargo ships and oil tankers against pirates.
Iran’s 33rd fleet of warships berthed in Cochin Port, India, on March 24. Earlier, the flotilla had docked in Tanjung Priok port of Indonesia and Colombo port of Sri Lanka in February.
The flotilla of warships ended its mission in the Gulf of Aden, and returned home today after tracing and identifying 782 cargo ships, 29 navy vessels and 5 fighter jets during its mission. It also had communications with 20 oil tankers which appreciated the Iranian fleet’s measures and efforts in protecting security in international waters.
The 33rd flotilla returned to Iran after 77 days of missions in the Sea of Oman, North of the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden, Bab al-Mandab Strait and the Red Sea.
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.