File photo shows Iran's Kharg helicopter carrier.
An Iranian commander says the 24th fleet of Iran's Navy, currently sailing through international waters, has docked at China's port city of Zhangjiagang.
The 24th fleet of the Navy, comprising Sabalan destroyer and Kharg helicopter carrier, docked in China's Zhangjiagang port on Monday after sailing 13,000 kilometers in 40 days, Iran Navy Deputy Commander Rear Admiral Siavash Jarreh said on Monday.
The flotilla of warships, which left Iran’s southern Bandar Abbas on January 20, conveys Iran’s message of peace and friendship to China and other East Asian countries, he added.
During its voyage, the Iranian warships successfully intercepted 1,180 trade and tanker ships and monitored more than 120 military units using optical and electronic devices, he noted.
The commander emphasized that the presence of Iran's Navy in international waters is in accordance with international regulations.
The Iranian commander further said a USS destroyer registered under hull number DDG106 came across Iran Navy's 24th fleet at the Strait of Malacca and asked for permission to approach it.
“Due to foul weather, the presence of the 24th fleet of Iran Navy at the [Malacca] Strait and the west of the Pacific Ocean surprised the US destroyer,” Jarreh added.
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.