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Iran Navy foils pirate attack, IRGC seizes vessel smuggling fuel

The file photo shows Iranian destroyer Alborz. (Photo by IRNA)

Iran's Navy says its forces have foiled a pirate attack against a merchant ship sailing in the Gulf of Aden.

The Iranian cargo ship came under attack early on Friday by unidentified pirates, who were later forced to flee following an exchange of fire with forces of the Navy's 80th fleet.

The vessel is now sailing safely to its designated destination thanks to the timely action by the Navy’s escort team.

Back in October 2021, an Iranian warship successfully foiled a pirate attack on an Iranian oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden following a heavy exchange of fire.

“The 78th naval fleet of the Islamic Republic of Iran, consisting of the Alborz destroyer, was attacked by five pirate boats this morning while escorting two Iranian tankers,” Navy Commander Rear Admiral Shahram Irani said in an interview at the time, describing the incident as “maritime terrorism.”

Irani also said during a presser last September, the country’s maritime strength and reach has grown to such a level that its naval forces can now sail to any point across international waters.

“Iran is the only country that provides for its own naval security,” he added.

In line with international efforts against piracy, the Iranian Navy has been conducting patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008, safeguarding 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.

Currently, the 80th naval fleet of the Islamic Republic of Iran, including Alborz destroyer and Bushehr naval escort ship, are operating in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden for convoy of vessels including merchant ships and oil tankers.

IRGC Navy confiscates craft smuggling fuel

In a separate incident, the Navy of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has seized a vessel and detained its four crews for smuggling thousands of liters of fuel in the Persian Gulf.

Mojtaba Ghahramani, head of the Justice Department of Iran's southern province of Hormozgan, said Saturday that the IRGC Navy forces have identified and confiscated a vessel carrying more than 42 thousand liters of fuel.

“All four crew members will remain in custody during the investigation process and the ensuing legal procedure,” he added, but did not provide any details on the nationality of the confiscated vessel.

“Such criminal acts by fuel smugglers will not go unpunished by the judiciary system, and the perpetrators of such crimes will be penalized heavily and without clemency,” Ghahramani said.

Vessels carrying smuggled fuel are subject to seizure and forfeiture according to the law, he said adding, the smugglers are punished by jail sentence and paying fines.

The IRGC Navy has foiled several attacks on Iranian and foreign tankers alike.

In April, IRGC has confiscated a foreign vessel smuggling 220,000 liters of smuggled fuel in Parsian County, south of Hormozgan and arrested the entire crew members.

During the second such seizure in less than a week from the first event, IRGC announced that a ship, smuggling 250,000 liters of fuel, had been confiscated.

The incidents came after a series of seizures of smuggler vessels by Iranian Navy forces in the sea lanes serving the Persian Gulf, where a large portion of the world’s oil is produced and shipped.

In November 2021, the IRGC announced the seizure of a foreign boat carrying 150,000 liters of smuggled diesel and the arrest of 11 foreign crew members.

The elite force released detailed footage of its confrontation on October 25, 2021 with an American act of piracy targeting an Iranian fuel shipment.

During the episode, US forces confiscated the tanker that was carrying a cargo of Iranian oil in the strategic Sea of Oman, transferring its consignment of crude to another vessel.

The IRGC then staged a maritime operation against the second vessel, landing its helicopters on its deck and navigating the ship towards Iranian waters.

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