Policing the waters.
Seaborne sentinels GCC navies pursue surface ship modernisation plans
The launch of the NAVDEX naval defence exhibition in 2011 was emblematic of the increasing importance attached to maritime security and coastal defence throughout the Gulf region, and very much reflected the aspirations of regional navies and maritime security arms to modernise and grow their capabilities.
It is easy to understand why. The waters of the Arabian Gulf lap up to the shores of some of the richest oil and gas producing nations in the world, are host to valuable offshore resources in their own right, and provide an essential ‘superhighway’ for seaborne trade throughout the region and to global markets beyond.
Accordingly, this enriched yet often vulnerable maritime arena must be policed and protected in order to deny the use of the seas and coastal areas to illicit activities, malign influences and threats to national security. These include piracy, illegal fishing of territorial waters, incursion of mineral exploitation across legal boundaries, maritime terrorism, narcotics smuggling, pollution as a result of shipping accidents or malpractice, trafficking of illegal immigrants, and avoidance of tax duties through smuggling.
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