Posted on March 12, 2019 by Ilias Kiritsis
The Iranian Navy has repelled a pirate attack on an Iranian-flagged oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden.
According to Iran’s state television, the incident occurred off Somalia’s northern coast, on Thursday the 7th of March.
Allegedly, an oil tanker carrying a cargo of over 150,000 tonnes of oil, was attacked by a heavily armed group on 11 speedboats.
If this is indeed the case, this would mark the first attack carried out by Somali pirates this year.
The attack was thwarted by the Iranian Navy’s 60th flotilla, which patrols the area around the Bab-el-Mandeb.
The 60th flotilla, which comprises of a Bayandor destroyer, a Bushehr logistic vessel and a Lavan logistic warship, originally set off on its mission to safeguard the local maritime routes on January the 23rd.
Iran has made an effort to combat piracy in the region over the last few years, all in an attempt to safeguard merchant vessels transiting through the area.
However, it is not yet clear if this attack took place, and if it did in the manner that the Iranian media portrays it.
11 skiffs are a rather large number of boats to be involved in an attack. Pirate attacks in the area usually comprise of 3-5 skiffs, at most.
Furthermore, Somali pirates have been rather quiet as of late. If this latest incident has occurred in the way that Iran suggests, it would mark a significant departure from traditional Somali tactics.
Iran has been trying to extend its reach in recent years, often dispatching vessels to the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden in order to protect Iranian ships from piracy.