Tehran, 7 Jumadil Awal 1434/18 March 2013 (MINA) – A top Iranian naval official says Iran’s 24th fleet has warned off an Australian reconnaissance plane as it approached the Sri Lankan coast, according to PressTV reports monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA), Monday morning.
Commander Siavosh Jarreh said on Sunday that the Australian aircraft was approaching the Iranian fleet, which comprised of a helicopter carrier and a destroyer, for imaging.
“Immediately after receiving the warning, the Australian reconnaissance plane changed its flight course, but it began dropping submarine detection devices…all of which was picked up by [our] marines,” he added.
The admiral noted that the Iranian naval fleet is sailing the high seas in compliance with international regulations.
On March 15, Iran Navy chief Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said Iranian naval forces will be sailing the Atlantic Ocean after their successful mission in the Pacific Ocean and crossing the Equator.
The Navy’s 24th fleet consisting of Sabalan destroyer and Kharg helicopter carrier, docked at China’s Zhangjiagang port on March 4 after sailing 13,000 kilometers in 40 days.
Three days later, the fleet left the Chinese port city for the Strait of Malacca after training exercises.
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. (T/P01/E1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)