Iranian Navy warships rescued an oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden after a fierce battle with pirates.

Pirates approaching on two boats attempted to stop the Iranian oil tanker somewhere close to Bab al-Mandab by opening fire at the tanker, the Navy’s public relations department said in a statement on Sunday.

The Navy unit in the area on mission to protect the merchant ships carried emergency operation to force the pirates to escape.

Three hours later, the pirates by six fast boats equipped with semi-heavy weapons attacked the tanker, but, they were forced to withdraw after several hours of conflict.

This was the worst clash between the Iranian Navy units on mission to protect the merchant ships against piracy in the Gulf of Aden over the past Iranian year (which ended on March 20).

The Iranian Navy’s 33rd flotilla of warships, which is comprised of martyr vice-admiral Naqdi destroyer and Bandar Abbas logistic warship for intelligence-gathering, operational and training missions, left Bandar Abbas port in Southern Iran for the Gulf of Aden late last month to protect the country’s cargo ships and oil tankers against pirates.

The Iranian Navy’s 32nd flotilla of warships ended its mission in the Gulf of Aden, and returned home mid January after thwarting 5 pirate attacks on the country’s oil tankers and cargo ships.

The 32nd flotilla, consisting of Jamaran and Bushehr destroyers, returned to Iran after 80 days of missions in the Sea of Oman, North of the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden, Bab al-Mandab Strait and the Red Sea.

The Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, when Somali raiders hijacked the Iranian-chartered cargo ship, MV Delight, off the coast of Yemen.

According to UN Security Council resolutions, different countries can send their warships to the Gulf of Aden and coastal waters of Somalia against the pirates and even with prior notice to Somali government enter the territorial waters of that country in pursuit of Somali sea pirates.

The Gulf of Aden – which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea – is an important energy corridor, particularly because Persian Gulf oil is shipped to the West via the Suez Canal.

Source: Fars