Monday, January 21, 2013

Iran’s 24th fleet leaves southern port for international waters

The 24th fleet of Iran's Navy has left a port in the south of the country for international waters to provide maritime security in the region.

The 24th fleet, comprising of Sabalan destroyer and Kharg helicopter carrier, left Iran’s Bandar Abbas port on Sunday.

Kharg helicopter carrier is 207 meters long and the largest of its kind in West Asia. The carrier operates as a backup aircraft transport for the Iranian Navy’s destroyers in international waters.

The deployment is aimed at providing security for the region and ensuring the security of shipping lines.

Iran Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said on January 16 that the 24th fleet would “patrol the north of the Indian Ocean, the Gulf of Aden, Bab-el-Mandeb, the Red Sea, the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea for three months.”
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In recent years, Iran’s Navy has been increasing its presence in international waters to protect naval routes and provide security for Iranian merchant vessels and tankers.

In addition, in line with the international efforts to combat piracy, the Iranian Navy has 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.

Meanwhile, Oman’s naval vessel Nasr al-Bahr docked at Iran's Bandar Abbas port along with a helicopter on Sunday.

The development is in line with measures to strengthen the friendly ties between the armed forces of the two neighboring countries.

Sayyari said in February 2012 that the naval forces of a number of neighboring countries had expressed desire to send fleets to Iran and that Tehran was ready to welcome them.

In December 2012, Russian destroyer Marshal Shaposhnikov docked at Bandar Abbas port.

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