Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:46PM
The file photo shows Iran’s Sabalan destroyer.
The file photo shows Iran’s Sabalan destroyer.

The naval forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Oman have launched joint search and rescue (SAR) drills in the eastern parts of the Strait of Hormuz and the northern parts of the Indian Ocean.

Iran's Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told reporters on Monday that the Islamic Republic and Oman stage the joint drills every year, adding that the two countries take turns in hosting the event.

This year's drills are hosted by Oman, Sayyari said.

He noted that three surface vessels and one helicopter are participating in the maneuvers, which aim to establish security in the region.

The commander of Iran's First Naval Zone, Rear Admiral Hossein Azad, said on Saturday that an Iranian naval flotilla, comprising Sabalan destroyer, Lavan logistic warship and helicopter carrier, SH3D helicopter and Falakhan missile-equipped warships, had left Iran for Oman to take part in the joint drills with the Arab country.

He added that it was imperative to improve security in Iran’s southern waters and the Indian Ocean given their geographical significance in maritime economy and the busy traffic of ships and oil tankers.

Iran and Oman have so far held several naval search and rescue drills aimed at enhancing readiness for providing relief services, conducting rescue operations, improving the level of regional cooperation, and exchanging experience.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Sayyari said the Iranian and Pakistani naval forces plan to hold a tactical maneuver on Tuesday.

The commander further added that an Iranian fleet had been also dispatched to Kazakhstan and would stage joint exercises with the country’s naval forces on Tuesday or Wednesday.

The commander of Iran's fleet of warships in the northern province of Gilan, Admiral Ahmadreza Baqeri, said on Saturday that the Iranian Navy had dispatched a flotilla to the Kazakh port city of Aktau for the first time.

The ‘Peace and Friendship’ flotilla consists of Damavand destroyer and Peykan missile-launcher destroyer and plans to stay in Kazakhstan for three days, he added.

The commander emphasized that the fleet would convey Iran’s message of peace and friendship.

In recent years, the Iranian 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 been also 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 tanker ships during its missions in international waters.

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