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Iran’s Navy will escort all tankers and other commercial vessels leaving the coast of the country to ensure their safe passage through risky waters. This is what Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, the commander of the Navy force of Iran, told state news agency Shana.
Sayyari explained that the Navy had been approached by the National Iranian Tanker Company to guarantee the safety of commercial vessels setting sail from Iran to the south, where they must pass through the Bab al-Mandab Strait between Somalia and Yemen, and parts of the Red Sea.
As Oilprice reported last week, there has been a spate of pirate attacks on navy vessels and merchant tankers in the narrow strait off Yemen, which is raising concerns over the security of commercial oil and gas shipping in the vital Bab al-Mandab Strait, the waterway of global trade between the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal and the Indian Ocean. The strait links the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden.
The Iranian Navy’s commander said that since 2008, when pirate activity spiked in the region, the Navy forces had escorted 3,800 commercial vessels, including tankers, ensuring their safe passage through pirate-infested waters.
The Bab-al-Mandab Strait sees some 3.8 million barrels of crude pass through it on a daily basis en route to ports around the world. The Bab al-Mandeb Strait had seen oil trade steadily growing in recent years, meaning even more oil was at risk.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, trade in crude oil and petroleum products at this chokepoint jumped to nearly 4.7 million barrels per day in 2014, almost doubling from the 2.7 million barrels in 2010. That reduction is thought to be at least partly because of the higher risks associated with traffic through it.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.