Muscat: Iranian naval forces have rescued an Iranian oil tanker from an attack by a group of pirates approximately 20 nautical miles off the Sultanate's Masirah Island, according to maritime sources.
"On Sunday, two pirate speedboats attacked and tried to hijack an Iranian oil tanker, but the Iranian Navy intervened and forced the pirates to flee the scene," the sources said.
The Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008 to safeguard vessels involved in maritime trade, especially ships and oil tankers owned or leased by Iran.
The Gulf of Aden, which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea, is the shortest route for thousands of vessels travelling annually between Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
Meanwhile, an Iranian Navy commander noted that the country's naval forces have conducted at least 138 anti-piracy missions in international waters, Iranian media reported: "Pirates dread approaching Iranian vessels since Iran's naval forces are in full control of the country's territorial waters," the media quoted Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari.
"Iran and Oman recently staged joint rescue and relief drills in Iranian territorial waters, south of Hormuz Island, noting that Tehran is ready to conduct joint naval exercises with regional states," the admiral added.
On January 22, select marine and airborne naval units from Iran and the Sultanate conducted joint rescue and relief drills.