Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Monday, October 28, 2013

Somali Pirates: Iran says, "Iran Navy saves cargo ship attacked by pirates"

The wondrous Iran forces of naval might have done it again!

Or, as Press TV (the state news mouthpiece) says, "Iran Navy saves cargo ship attacked by pirates":
An Iranian Navy commander says the country’s naval forces have successfully saved an Iranian merchant vessel which had come under attack by pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

Five boats with armed pirates on board approached and attacked the Iranian freighter on Monday, said Deputy Commander of the Iranian Navy for Operations Rear Admiral Siavash Jarreh.

The commander stated that Iran’s 27th Naval Fleet - comprised of the Sabalan destroyer and Lark helicopter carrier - rushed to assist the cargo ship upon its distress call.

Iranian Navy marines managed to foil the pirate attack after getting engaged in a fire fight that lasted for several hours. No injuries were reported among the crew members of the Iranian ships. (emphasis added)
Let me deal with the second highlight first. Assuming that any of this nonsense is true, really - "fire fight that lasted for several hours?" Against 5 little boats with pirates who are mostly armed with AK-47s and an RPG or two?


The "destroyer" identified as "Sabalan" is not poorly armed for counter-piracy (assuming all the things work):
4 x C-802 anti-ship missiles
1 × 4.5 inch (114 mm) Mark 8 gun
1 x twin 35 mm AAA, 2 x single 20 mm AAA
2 × 81 mm mortars, 2 × 0.50cal machine guns, 1 x Limbo ASW mortar, 2 x triple 12.75 in torpedo tubes
IF it took "several hours" to deal with the pirates, someone was not doing something right.

Stern view of Kharg oiler, showing hangers for helicopters
The other interesting question deals with the first highlight above, referencing the "Lark helicopter carrier."

This is the first reference I've seen to that ship or a "helicopter carrier" in Iranian service.

Now, it may be that it is a simple mistake and what was meant was the Iranian oiler, Kharg - which can, in fact, carry two helicopters.

Or it may be the figment of some Press TV writer's over-active imagination.

Or Iranian assignment of labels that make no sense in a naval context.

Wonder never cease in the information wars.

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