The Iranian Navy has dispatched a flotilla on a mission to Oman, local media report, and will enter international waters.
On Sunday, the 47th flotilla, comprised of an Alborz destroyer and Bushehr logistic warship, set sail from the southern port city of Bandar Abbas after a ceremony attended by naval commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, Tasnim News reports. From Oman, the ships will head to the Gulf of Aden and international waters north of the Indian Ocean.
At the same time, the 46th flotilla, made up of a Sabalan destroyer and Lavan logistic warship, is due to return to Iran on Sunday after completing a two-month mission to secure naval routes and protect merchant vessels and oil tankers in the Gulf of Aden. The Iranian Navy has been conducting patrols of the region since November 2008 as part of international anti-piracy efforts.
“Today, there is some controlled insecurity in the Gulf of Aden and we have been able to escort over 4,000 oil tankers and cargo ships to the safe regions without any disruption in our plans for oil and non-oil exports and imports,” Admiral Sayyari told Fars News Agency on Sunday.
The Gulf of Aden, which lies between the Horn of Africa and the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, is home to multiple security threats. The ongoing conflict in Yemen between the Saudi-backed government and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels has led to a number of ships in the area coming under attack. Meanwhile, pirates in Somalia have been taking advantage of the chaos to launch raids on merchant vessels passing through the area, one of the busiest shipping routes for oil in the world.