Iranian state radio says Iran has sent a warship to the coast of Somalia to protect its cargo ships against piracy.

The Saturday report says the ship arrived in Somali waters.

The Iranian ship would join vessels from the U.S., Denmark, Italy, Russia and other countries in patrolling the Gulf of Aden, which leads to the Suez Canal and is the quickest route from Asia to Europe and the Americas.

In November, a cargo ship operated by Iran was hijacked off the coast of Somalia, the second since July.

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The ship, with 25 crew members, was carrying 36,000 tons of wheat and was headed for the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas.

In October, pirates freed 29 Iranian seamen from the earlier hijacking after Iran paid a ransom for them.