|Iranian naval fleet has crossed the Strait of Malacca for the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution and it will enter the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday.
The Islamic Republic’s Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said the Iranian Navy’s 24th fleet of warships, comprising Sabalan destroyer and Kharg helicopter carrier, had set sail for the Malacca Strait to provide security for the route, adding that the fleet would enter the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday.
“For the first time since the Islamic Revolution, the Naval Forces of the Islamic Republic have crossed the Strait of Malacca,” Sayyari said on Monday.
Sayyari stressed the importance of the north Indian Ocean and southeastern Asia to Iran, because of the commercial vessel traffic through the Straits of Hormuz, Bab el-Mandeb and Malacca.
Kharg helicopter carrier is 207 meters long and the largest of its kind in West Asia. The carrier operates as a backup aircraft transport for the Iranian Navy’s destroyers in international waters.
After leaving the Strait of Malacca, the Iranian fleet will cruise northwards into the Pacific Ocean and dock at the Chinese Port of Zhangjiagang and the Port of Colombo in Sri Lanka, the Iranian commander added.
The dockings are aimed at “extending the Iranian nation’s message of friendship to the countries of China and Sri Lanka,” Sayyari said.
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.