Iran Navy saves cargo ship from pirates
Iran's Navy warships have foiled a pirate attack on a cargo ship in the Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of Somalia in the Horn of Africa, reported Press TV.
The Iranian bulk carrier came under attack early on Sunday after a number of armed people on board several skiffs approached the carrier at high speed, said Iranian Navy Deputy Commander Rear Admiral Seyyed Mahmoud Mousavi, quoted by IRNA on Tuesday.
He added that the Iranian warships patrolling the area rushed to assist the cargo ship upon its distress call, which reported an unauthorized boarding attempt by several people.
Iranian Navy marines managed to foil the pirate attack on the merchant vessel after they engaged in a fire fight. No injuries were reported among the crews of the Iranian ships.
In line with international efforts against piracy, Iran's 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.
International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos described in May the anti-piracy efforts by Iran's Navy as "effective."
Iran's Navy performs effectively in fighting pirates. The whole maritime community is undoubtedly indebted to those countries that have acted to counter piracy by deploying forces, Mitropoulos said.
The IMO chief also referred to the quick presence of Iran's naval forces in areas most vulnerable to pirate attacks and said he had previously expressed his gratitude for Iran's anti-piracy efforts in a letter to the Iranian ambassador to Britain.
Rampant piracy off the Indian Ocean coast of Somalia has made the waters among the most dangerous in terms of pirate activities.
The Gulf of Aden, which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea, is the quickest route for more than 20,000 vessels traveling annually between Asia, Europe and the Americas.
However, attacks by heavily armed Somali pirates on speedboats have prompted some of the world's largest shipping firms to switch routes from the Suez Canal and reroute cargo vessels around southern Africa, leading to climbing shipping costs.
Somalia has been in strife since 1991, when warlords overthrew former dictator Mohamed Siad Barre. Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, it has been embroiled in a bitter civil war for years.
The lawless state has been without a functioning government ever since and the authority of the so-called Transitional Federal Government is limited mostly to the area around the capital city, Mogadishu.