Iran Navy marines try to board a hijacked Iranian merchant vessel in the Indian Ocean, March 30, 2012. Iran's naval forces have rescued a Singaporean commercial ship from a pirate attack in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia in the Horn of Africa. The office of Iran's Navy Public Relations announced on Saturday that the Singaporean commercial ship sent a distress call to the Navys 20th fleet after it was attacked by 12 pirate speedboats. The Iranian warships rushed to the scene upon receiving the signal and managed to repel the pirate attack following a heavy armed conflict.The crew on board the Singaporean commercial vessel conveyed their gratitude to the Iranian Navy following the successful rescue mission. Iran's Permanent Representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Ali Akbar Marzban said on May 18 that Iran's Navy has conducted at least 85 anti-piracy missions in the international waters over the past three years. Iran's Navy has been multiplying its naval presence in the international waters since last year, deploying vessels to the Indian Ocean and dispatching, in February 2011, two ships via the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean Sea for the first time. In addition, in line with the international efforts to combat piracy, the Iranian Navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008 to safeguard the vessels involved in maritime trade, especially the ships and oil tankers owned or leased by Iran. The Gulf of Aden, which links the Indian Ocean with the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea, is the quickest route for thousands of vessels traveling annually between Asia, Europe and the Americas.