Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:18AM
This file photo shows Iran’s Kharg helicopter carrier.
This file photo shows Iran’s Kharg helicopter carrier.

The 29th Fleet of the Iranian Navy has headed to the Atlantic Ocean in line with the country’s policy to safeguard naval routes for its vessels.

The flotilla, which comprises Kharg helicopter carrier and Sabalan destroyer, left Iran’s southern port city of Bandar Abbas on Tuesday for the Navy’s first-ever mission in the Atlantic Ocean. The fleet will travel some 25,000 kilometers during its three-month mission to get to the Atlantic.

In a ceremony to deploy the fleet, Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said that the 29th Fleet is sent on a mission to provide the safety of Iran’s shipping lines in international waters and to provide training for the new recruits.

Sayyari said that Iran is among the important countries that safeguard naval routes for vessels in the pirate-infested Gulf of Aden and Bab al-Mandab Strait.

Deputy Commander of the Iranian Army Brigadier General Abdolrahim Mousavi also said in the ceremony that Iran sends naval fleets to international waters with the aim of conveying a message of peace and friendship to world countries and displaying its defense capabilities at sea.

In recent years, Iran’s Navy has increased its presence in international waters to protect naval routes and provide security for merchant vessels and tankers.

In line with international efforts against piracy, the Iranian Navy has also been conducting patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008 in order to safeguard merchant containers and oil tankers owned or leased by Iran or other countries.

Iran’s Navy has managed to foil several attacks on both Iranian and foreign tankers during its missions in international waters.