Iran to step up security against piracy
As Somali pirates expand their area of operation to the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman, Iran mulls on dispatching more warships to the region to safeguard its merchant vessels and oil tankers, Press TV reported.
The Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL) is set to present a new plan to officials to enhance the surveillance measures over Iranian vessels and tankers, IRNA quoted IRISL Managing Director Mohammad-Hossein Dajmar as saying on Monday.
"Although no threat has jeopardized Iranian vessels up to this moment, Tehran needs to expand supervision through multiplying the number of its security forces," he went on to say.
Voicing concern over the current insecurity of waterways in the area, the IRISL managing director pointed out that Iranian vessels must sail through the Indian Ocean to head for any international waters.
"Due to the ongoing protective measures, Iranian vessels in the region do not face any problems," he continued.
The Islamic Republic dispatched a new fleet of vessels to the Gulf of Aden in November as part of its expanded security measures.
In line with international efforts against piracy, the Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008 to safeguard maritime trade and, in particular, ships and oil tankers owned or leased by Iran.
Despite patrols by the European Union, NATO and several other countries, Somali pirates have hijacked dozens of ships in recent years and have taken in tens of millions of dollars in ransoms.