NATO warships assist Iranian vessel
NATO warships rescued an Iranian vessel twice last week, once from Somali pirates and again, just days later, when the same vessel’s engine broke down. The Iranian ship was initially released from suspect Somali pirates by the Danish warship, the HDMS Absalon, on 7th January. It was an Italian ship, the ITS Grecale, which came to assist the Iranians over the weekend. A statement released by NATO yesterday reports the Italian crew worked throughout the night to repair the ships engine; however "the engine was too badly damaged to repair at sea," according to the statement. What’s more, "NATO offered to transfer the crew to the closest port, but they chose to stay with their vessel." The ITS Grecale currently remains in the area to monitor the situation and offer further support if necessary.
These incidents are amongst a number of recent successful operations by NATO forces to prevent piracy and boost maritime security; including the US warship, USS Carney, which intercepted the dhow Al-Qashmi and freed its 20 Indian crew members, and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary supply ship, Fort Victoria, which prevented Somali pirates from attacking cargo ships last Tuesday.
This news comes amid tensions between the international community and Iran. To read more on maritime security, visit the SDA’s archive here.