The Russian Navy plans to expand and overhaul the naval facilities near Tartus in Syria to support anti-piracy missions off the Somali coast.

The Navy’s Black Sea Fleet operating in the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea will send two tug boats to deliver a new berthing float to Tartus, reports Russian Information Agency Novosti.

The maintenance site with 50 personnel and three berthing floats will be modernised under the expansion plan to make the naval base fully operational.

The naval facility will provide essential support for Russian warships to protect commercial shipping around the Horn of Africa, a Navy spokesman said.

The overhauled maintenance site near Tartus will push the Navy’s operational capability upward as the Mediterranean-based warships will now have a quick passage to the Red Sea through the Suez Canal and the Atlantic through the Strait of Gibraltar.