Iran sends warships to fight Somali pirates: television | world | Hindustan Times
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Iran sends warships to fight Somali pirates: television

Iran has sent two warships to patrol the Gulf of Aden and protect its commercial vessels and oil tankers against attacks by pirates off the Somali coast, the state television website said.

world Updated: May 14, 2009 19:24 IST

Iran has sent two warships to patrol the Gulf of Aden and protect its commercial vessels and oil tankers against attacks by pirates off the Somali coast, the state television website said on Thursday.

Iran relies on oil tankers to deliver its crude oil to customers.

“Two Iranian warships will arrive in the Gulf of Aden in the next two days and will remain in the territory for the next five months,” the Islamic republic’s United Nations representatvie Mohammad Khazai was quoted as saying.

“The aim of sending these ships is to protect Iranian commercial vessels and oil tankers or those ships which carry Iranian commodities or nationals,” he added.

Last December Iran said it had sent a warship to the Gulf of Aden to protect Iranian vessels against the pirates. Thursday’s report did not mention whether the two latest warships would join the earlier one.

In January, Iran’s state broadcaster reported that Somali pirates had released a Hong-Kong registered cargo ship chartered by Iran which had been hijacked in the Gulf of Aden in November.

In October, the authorities in Tehran paid a ransom to secure the release of an Iranian merchant ship hijacked off the Somali coast two months earlier.

Pirates have carried out more than 100 attacks in the key shipping lanes of the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean since the start of this year.

Numerous countries, including the United States, Belgium, France, Greece, Liberia and South Korea have all indicated a willingness to send, or have already sent, warships to the region and China has said it would also do so.