MoTC plans identification system for small boats

H E Said bin Hamdoon al Harthi

Muscat - 

Oman, represented by the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC), is in talks with other GCC countries, for an automatic identification system (AIS) for tracking small boats at the ports.

Speaking to media after the first session of the Port Security Middle East 2013 Conference organised by IQPC (International Quality & Productivity Center) and GEC (Global Exhibitions & Conferences) at Radisson Blu Hotel Muscat on Monday, H E Said bin Hamdoon al Harthi, Undersecretary for Ports and Maritime Affairs at MoTC, said, “We are talking to GCC countries on how we can put AIS on small boats. We are still in the process of formulating a law.”

He added, “We have no problem with identification of big ships as they already have AIS. Identification of small ships is a challenge not only in Oman, but anywhere in the world.”

Tracking of small boats is also a challenge at Rotterdam Port, the safest port in the world and Europe’s largest and most efficient port, according to Jan Gardeitchik, head of Harbour Master Policy Department at the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands, who is taking part in the conference.

“Small boats such as water taxis are very difficult to track,” he said.

In his presentation, titled ‘International Case Study: Coordinating Security at the Port of Rotterdam’, Gardeitchik spoke on the latest technologies used at the Port of Rotterdam.

These include a gate system, radio active detection at every terminal, x-ray scanning and a radar camera.

Over 50 regional and international port experts and professionals are participating in the two-day  conference, which is discussing current trends and security challenges in ports in the Middle East, best practices and security experiences, advanced security measures, infrastructure and technology, local and international security operations, and cost of security plans.

Local participants at the conference included MoTC, Port Services Corporation, Port of Duqm, Port of Sohar, Port of Salalah and Free Zone, Port Sultan Qaboos and Oman LNG.

The conference will focus on case studies such as the Port of Gothenburg on the second day.

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