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Iran dispatches more warships to fight piracy

Press TV - More Iranian warships are to be sent to the Gulf of Aden, to protect the fifth-largest crude exporter's oil tankers from pirate attacks.

The naval units are to be sent to the waterway linking the Red and the Arabian Seas 8:00am local time (12:40 GMT), Monday, the semiofficial Iranian Students News Agency reported on Sunday.

The warships are to join the existing two unites stationed at the Gulf where international forces from a number of countries including the United States, India, Britain, China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Korea have been fighting pirates preying on commercial vessels.

According to Ecoterra, an environmental group that monitors Somali piracy, pirates had seized 28 ships off the coast of Somalia up to August 10, 2009. The release of the Italian-owned Buccaneer earlier this month left eight ships and 163 seamen in the hands of pirates.

Piracy at sea is a major source of income for criminal gangs in the Horn of Africa country, who take the ship, its cargo and crew hostages and hold them for ransom.

Somalia has not had a functioning government since warlords overthrew Dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991. The country also suffers from a high unemployment rate and almost half the population needs food aid after 17 years of non-stop conflict.

... Payvand News - 08/31/09 ... --

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