Iran sends warship to fight Somali pirates

December 20th, 2008 - 9:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Tehran, Dec 20 (Xinhua) An Iranian warship has arrived in the Gulf of Aden to fight Somali pirates, a media report said Saturday.”Patrolling by Iran’s navy warships is something regular and is carried out anywhere required,” the Fars news agency quoted a high-ranking Iranian army official as saying.

Earlier, an Iranian parliament member had said that Iran might consider military action against the pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

In November, Somali pirates had hijacked a Hong Kong cargo ship, which was chartered by an Iranian company, in the Gulf of Aden near the coast of Yemen.

The vessel, with 25 crewmembers and loaded with 36,000 tonnes of wheat, was bound for Iran’s Bandar Abbas port when it was hijacked.

In a separate development, China Saturday decided to send its navy vessels to the region to fight the Somali pirates, the country’s foreign ministry announced.

“The Chinese government decided to dispatch naval ships to the Gulf of Aden to safeguard the sea lanes,” foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in a statement.

More than 80 ships have been attacked in the African waters this year. About a dozen ships along with 200 crewmembers are still believed to be in the hands of pirates, according to media reports.

Each year around 20,000 vessels pass through the Gulf of Aden that links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea.

In recent months, a multinational task force based in Djibouti has been patrolling parts of the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea where piracy is rife.

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