Baku, Azerbaijan, March 21
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Iran's navy repelled several pirate attacks against an Iranian oil tank in the Gulf of Aden.
A group of pirates on two speedboats approached an Iranian oil tank in the region and opened fire on it, forcing the tank to stop.
However, the pirates had to flee after Iranian naval forces took swift action to thwart the assault, Iran's official IRIB news agency reported on March 21.
The pirates with semi-heavy weapons approached the oil tank on six speedboats once again, but forced to escape after several hours of shootout with the Islamic Republic's naval forces.
The incident which took place on March 20 reportedly was the heaviest armed clash between Iranian navy and pirates last year.
The Gulf of Aden, which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea, is the quickest route for thousands of vessels traveling annually among Asia, Europe and the America. Iranian naval forces foiled several pirate attacks against Iranian ships in the region during the past weeks.
Iran's Navy has been recently increasing its presence in international waters to protect naval routes and ensure security for merchant vessels and tankers.
In line with international efforts to combat piracy, the Iranian Navy has also been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008 to safeguard the vessels involved in maritime trade, especially the ships and oil tankers owned or leased by Iran.
The Iranian Navy has managed to foil several attacks on both Iranian and foreign tankers during its mission in international waters.
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