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Iran navy saves US cargo ship from pirates

The Iranian navy helped stop a pirate attack on an American cargo ship in the Gulf of Oman.

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Iranian corvette class vessel 'Shahid Naqdi', sent by Tehran to the Mediterranean to help 'train the Syrian navy. (AFP/Getty/AFP/Getty Images)

The Iranian navy helped stop a pirate attack on an American cargo ship in the Gulf of Oman, Iranian state media reported Thursday.

According to CNN, the incident occurred northeast of Fujairah, a port for refueling oil tankers, which is close to the Strait of Hormuz, an important oil shipping lane.

IRNA news agency reported the pirates, "fled the scene as soon as they spotted the presence" of the Iranian warship. 

This marked the first time the Iranian navy protected a US ship.

However, Maersk Line spokesman Kevin Steers, told AFP that its vessel had fought off an attack by pirate skiffs around noon local time while the vessel was transiting the Gulf of Oman. They denied it had been helped by the Iranian navy.

"Maersk Texas heard from the Iranian navy over radio to the initial distress call, but our vessel received no assistance from the Iranian navy,"  Steers said in an email sent to AFP.

More from GlobalPost: Pirates hijack Chinese cargo ship, Iran navy comes to the rescue

However a State Department official confirmed Iran's help in the matter.

"We were aware of the incident yesterday. The situation was successfully deescalated by the ship's crew and the Iranian crew," the unnamed official said. 

NDTV noted the Iranians were working as part of the international efforts against piracy. Iran's navy has been conducting anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden since November 2008.

Everyone on board both ships were safe and sound and the US ship continued on its journey. 

This is not the first time the two countries have banned together to fight off pirates. In January, the US helped thwart several pirate attacks in Iranian vessels.

More from GlobalPost: Pirates hijack oil tanker off Oman coast

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/iran/120524/iran-navy-saves-us-cargo-ship-pirates