Commander: Over 2,000 ships escorted by Iranian Navy marines in int'l. waters
Commander of the Iranian Navy marines Admiral Seyyed Morteza Darkhoran said that his forces have escorted thousands of cargo ships and oil tankers against pirate attacks in international waters in the past few years.
"We have escorted 2,218 ships and had 204 cases of clashes (with the pirates) since 2008," Admiral Darkhoran told Fars News Agency on Tuesday.
He said that the main mission of his forces is protecting the Iranian ships in the high seas, but, meantime noted that they also assist foreign vessels against pirates, when requested.
Admiral Darkhoran added that for example in 2014, a Chinese cargo ship requested help from the Iranian fleet of warships deployed in the Gulf of Aden, saying that Iran's Navy marines engaged in clashes with the pirates for 24 hours, arrested all of them and returned the Chinese ship safely. The Iranian naval forces rescued a Chinese container vessel surrounded by pirates in the Gulf of Adan on September 17, 2014.
The Chinese vessel was heading towards the Indian Ocean from Singapore when it was attacked by armed pirates riding in five speedboats.
The 31st Fleet of warships rushed to help the Chinese tanker as soon as they received the SOS message.
Iran's Navy has managed to foil several attacks on both Iranian and foreign tankers during its mission in the international waters.
In recent years, it has increased its presence in the international waters to protect naval routes and provide security for merchant vessels and tankers.
In line with international efforts against piracy, Iran's Navy has also been conducting patrols in the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden since November 2008 in order to safeguard cargo ships and oil tankers owned or leased by Iran and other countries.