Qatar’s maritime defence vital: Official

 27 Mar 2014 - 6:01

Officials signing one of the two agreements.

DOHA: Given Qatar’s huge oil and gas reserves and its reliance on sea trade, maritime defence is of paramount importance to the country, says a high-ranking military official.
“Our resources are based on oil and gas production, mostly on the sea and they are being exported all over the world through the sea. This explains why maritime defence is very important to us,” said Staff Brigadier (Sea) Tariq Al Obaidli, Assistant Director, National Security Shield Project.
He was one of the speakers at the Middle East Naval Commanders Conference (MENC) yesterday as part of the fourth Doha International Maritime Defence Exhibition and Conference (DIMDEX 2014) at Qatar National Convention Centre.
The total area of Qatar’s sea waters is about 35,000sqkm, three times its land area, “which means we depend more on the sea than on land,” he said.
The instability in the Arab world and Qatar’s hosting of global events, including the Men’s Handball World Championship 2015 and World Cup 2022, are among other reasons why the country is keen to protect its land and sea, he added.
Maritime defence challenges, he said, are varied and include terrorist acts in the sea, destruction of pipelines, drug trafficking, piracy, illegal fishing and oil and gas leakage, among others.
To ensure maritime security, he said latest planes and helicopters and the most advanced ships and communication tools as well as good coordination with air defence are necessary. An excellent human capital is also needed, “students with know-how and military officers with high spirits.”
He also outlined Qatar’s National Security Shield Project, its nature and objectives.
“The objective is to protect the borders of Qatar by founding a unit with high capability that can protect the land and sea. This project relies on the use of latest technology that helps military forces execute operations as quickly as possible,” he explained.
Qatar Emiri Naval Forces Commander, Major General Mohammed Nasser Al Mohannadi, opened the conference, stressing its import role in serving as a platform to find solutions facing new emerging threats to naval security.
Meanwhile, two agreements were signed at DIMDEX 2014 at the centre.
Further expanding business relations between Qatar and Turkey, Deputy of Director Logistics Department, Brig. Abdullah Saad Al Kharji, representing the Interior Ministry, and Kerim Kalafatoglu, Chairman and Executive Director for ARES Shipyard, signed a MoU to deliver 17 new fast patrol boats within 56 months to Qatar Coast Guard Services. ARES is a specialist composite boat yard, based in Turkey’s free trade zone. 
The National Security Shield (NSS) and Defence Services Marketing Council (DSMC) signed an agreement to hold the annual Qatar Maritime Security – Maritime Reconnaissance and Surveillance Conference this October under the theme ‘Maritime Domain Awareness, The Steps to Maritime Security’. The agreement was signed by Staff Brig. (Pilot) Mohammed A Al Mannai, Director, Qatar National Security Shield Project, and Matthew Cochran, Chairman,  Defence Services Marketing Council. The Peninsula