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Regional consensus essential in fight against piracy in Indian Ocean: Cmdr.
Iran's Navy has increased its presence in the international waters since 2011 to combat piracy and protect the security of naval routes. (File photo)
Friday, April 13, 2012
The commander of Iran’s Navy says consensus among and collective efforts by regional countries is essential in fighting piracy in the Indian Ocean.
“The issue of piracy has been on the rise in the past three to four years, especially along the coasts of Somalia,” said Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari who is attending the Third Indian Ocean Naval Symposium in Johannesburg, South Africa.
He also said the event aims to discuss the best means for the establishment of security and fighting piracy in the Indian Ocean.
The Iranian commander noted that, up until a few years ago, the pirates would not venture beyond 200-300 kilometers (km) off the Somali shores; however, they have currently taken their activities to as far as 2,200 to 2,300 km away from the shores.
He described piracy as “sea terrorism,” and said it poses a serious threat to maritime trade.
Attacks by heavily armed Somali pirates on speedboats have prompted some of the world's largest shipping firms to switch routes from the Suez Canal and reroute cargo vessels around southern Africa, leading to climbing shipping costs.
“Today, many countries are present in the northern parts of the Indian Ocean, especially in areas like the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb and the Gulf of Aden to protect their commercial fleet,” he added.
The four-day Indian Ocean Naval Symposium opened at the Cape Town International Convention Center on April 10 and is attended by navy commanders from 33 littoral states of the Indian Ocean who are there to discuss the most important security and military issues related to area.
In line with international efforts to combat piracy and protect the security of naval routes, the Navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008 to safeguard vessels involved in maritime trade, especially the ships and oil tankers owned or leased by Iran.
Last May, International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary General Efthimios E. Mitropoulos described the anti-piracy efforts by Iran's Navy as “effective.”
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