Speaking on television, Commander of Iran’s Army Navy Rear Admiral Shahram Irani said the Iranian Navy has again successfully defended Iranian oil tankers from a pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden. The admiral said that escorting Iranian oil tankers and commercial vessels is the main mission of the Iranian Army Navy fleet.
“The 78th naval fleet of the Islamic Republic of Iran, comprising the destroyer Alborz, was attacked by five pirate ships this morning while escorting two Iranian oil tankers,” Rear Admiral Shahram Irani said. He described the incident as “maritime terrorism.”
The Iranian naval fleet was escorting two oil tankers in the Gulf of Aden when they reported that the small vessels attempted to approach one of the tankers. They believed the pirates were attempting to damage the tanker, but the Iranian destroyer Alborz, they reported, was able to interpose itself between the tanker and the smaller vessels and steer them away from the tanker’s course.
“Thanks to the timely action of the army sailors, the two tankers safely crossed the Gulf of Aden,” added the rear admiral, who said no further cases have been reported in this area.
Iran’s Tasnim news agency said the country has been patrolling the Gulf of Aden since November 2008 to safeguard merchant ships and oil tankers from Iran and other countries. The Alborz, a 310-foot destroyer built by Vickers in England in 1969, was reportedly deployed to international waters in August to protect naval routes and maintain the safety of Iranian cargo ships. The destroyer is believed to have recently undergone a refit and modernization, although details are not available.
This is not the first time Iran says it has used its Navy to defend against pirate attacks. In March 2019, the Iranian Navy said 11 speedboats approached one of its tankers in the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, which links the Gulf of Aden to the Red Sea. Again. They said their warship was able to drive off the pirates before they could board the tanker. Earlier, in October 2017, an Iranian merchant vessel was also reportedly boarded by seven pirate ships in the same region and again defended by the Navy.
International agencies report a sharp overall decline in pirate activity in the Gulf of Aden. Last week, in its report on global piracy in the first nine months of 2021, the ICC International Maritime Bureau said that only one attack had been recorded in the Gulf of Aden in the first nine months of 2021 and none in the similar period of 2019 and 2020.