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Policed maritime corridor will protect merchant ships passing through Gulf from pirates

Naval forces have demarcated a corridor in the Gulf of Aden and Bab el Mandab that warships will police to allow merchant ships safe passage from high speed boats laden with explosives, a spillover from the conflict in Yemen, and pirates.

The Combined Maritime Forces, a 32-nation multi-national naval force, said it will focus surveillance operations along a newly announced Maritime Security Transit Corridor for vessels passing through the strategic southern Red Sea route following recent attempted strikes on ships.

“The CMF seeks to encourage the merchant community to operate in a specific area so that CMF can focus our assets on that area, versus spreading them over a much wider area,” said Lt Cmdr Mark Vickers, deputy public affairs officer of the Combined Maritime Forces. “This provides mutual benefit to both the merchant community and naval forces.”

Read more: Iran ‘could use Houthis to disrupt key maritime routes’

Military assets would be deployed to ensure “they are able to deliver the greatest effect against the threat to freedom of navigation,” he said, but declined to specify the number of naval vessels that would provide protection.

The maritime corridor is a two-way link that directly connects the Bab el Mandeb strait with the internationally recommended transit corridor or IRTC in the Gulf of Aden.

CMF Commander Vice Admiral Kevin Donegan outlined the dangers from piracy and attacks by small boats with small arms, explosives and rocket propelled grenades during a Combined Maritime Forces Commander’s conference in Bahrain this month.
Source: The National

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