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UAE to step up maritime security

UAE to step up maritime security

Dubai: UAE security officials have said they would escort oil tankers under way in the waters of Abu Dhabi emirate in cases where shipping companies asked for vessel protection, it has emerged.

Officials at Abu Dhabi's Critical National Infrastructure Authority (CNIA) said last week that an attack on Japanese oil tanker M Star as it entered the Straits of Hormuz on July 28 implied a need for increased vigilance in the UAE's territorial waters.

"The protection scheme depends on the [International Ship and Port Facility Security] code," news reports quoted Staff Brig Pilot Faris al Mazrouei, the CNIA's chairman, as saying last week. "Any company or government body might raise the security level, and we are completely responsible with carrying out that level."
The UAE is a signatorty to the ISPS code, a set of international measures enacted on July 1, 2004 and designed to respond to threats to the shipping industry following the 9/11 attacks.

The CNIA is tasked with ensuring the security of the emirate's critical assets, including onshore and offshore oil rigs, all energy and water facilities and its waters.

The UAE has also been advised to tighten its frontiers as it embarks on a nuclear plant construction programme designed to see first power generated in Abu Dhabi emirate by 2017.

The statements came as the CNIA said it had incorporated a number of armed forces helicopters into an airborne unit to help protect the "marine frontier", Staff Brig Pilot al Mazrouei said.