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Iran Repels Pirate Attack on Tankers in Gulf of Aden

Iran reports pirate attack in Gulf of Aden
The Iranian destroyer Alborz (72) seen in the rear of this undated photo (Tasnim Agency CC-by-SA 4 license)

Published Oct 18, 2021 6:47 PM by The Maritime Executive

Speaking on television, the Commander of Iran’s Army Navy Rear Admiral Shahram Irani said that the Iranian Navy had once again successfully defended Iranian tankers from an attack by pirates in the Gulf of Aden. The admiral said that escorting Iranian oil tankers and commercial vessels is the main mission of the fleet of Iran’s Army Navy.

"The 78th naval fleet of the Islamic Republic of Iran, consisting of the Alborz destroyer, was attacked by five pirate boats this morning while escorting two Iranian tankers," the commander said speaking on Iranian television on October 16. He described the incident as "maritime terrorism."

Iran’s naval fleet was escorting two tankers in the Gulf of Aden when they reported that the small boats attempted to approach one of the tankers. They believed the pirates were attempting to damage the tanker, but the Iranian destroyer Alborz reported was able to get in between the tanker and the smaller boats and direct the smaller boats away from the course of the tanker.

"With the timely action of the army marines, the two tankers safely passed through the Gulf of Aden,” the Admiral added saying that no additional cases have been reported in this area.

The Iranian Tasnim news agency said that the country has been patrolling the Gulf of Aden since November 2008 to safeguard merchant vessels and tankers from Iran and other countries. The Alborz, a 310-foot destroyer built by Vickers in England in 1969, was reportedly deployed into international waters in August to protect naval routes and maintain the security of Iranian cargo ships. The destroyer is believed to have recently undergone a refit and modernization although no details were available.

It is not the first time Iran has said that it used its Navy to defend from pirate attacks. In March 2019, the Iranian Navy said 11 speedboats approached one of its oil 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 chase off the pirates before they were able to board the tanker. Before that, in October 2017, an Iranian merchant ship was also reportedly approached by seven pirate ships in the same region and again defended by the Navy.

International agencies report an overall strong 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 there had only been one reported attack in the Gulf of Aden in the first nine months of 2021 and none in the similar period of 2019 and 2020.