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Flight deck of aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Gulf. Image Credit: Reuters

A significant proportion of the global economy depends on the free flow of maritime traffic. The ships that navigate the waters of Arabian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz carry one-third of the world’s petrochemical and energy needs — an essential artery that keeps oil pumping around the planet, powering industry, energy and global trade. The free movement of those ships is vital.

Simply put, the maritime trade in our regional waters cannot be interrupted. Those vessels are the lifeblood of commerce, trade and energy, and anyone who interferes in their safe passage or impedes their activities is a saboteur of the interests of all who depend on their cargoes. Yet sabotage and piracy now have reared their head, all thanks to the activities of the regime in Iran.

Over the past eight weeks, there have been a series of worrying incidents — all instigated by Iran — that have brought this region and our allies together. Four tankers were targeted off the eastern coast of the UAE in early June, while two other tankers in July suffered potentially catastrophic explosions to their hulls in July. And two weeks ago, Iranian naval boats acted like buccaneers by seizing one British tanker and attempting to take another but for the timely intervention of the Royal Navy warship.

Over the past eight weeks, there have been a series of worrying incidents — all instigated by Iran — that have brought this region and our allies together.

- Gulf News

This reckless behaviour cannot be allowed to interrupt our maritime trade, and the vessels that ply our waters need protection from the threat than emanates from Iran and its dangerous acts in internationally recognised marine passages. Realistically, the only practical way forward now is to provide these tankers and ships with protection.

The UAE fully endorses world efforts to safeguard security in the Gulf, protecting ships and ensuring that the right of safe transit and free navigational passage is ensured and protected. That is a principle that cannot be undermined nor threatened by the actions of the regime in Tehran.

Let’s be clear: The nations of the Gulf are united in ensuring the stability and security of this region. As Dr Anwar Mohammad Gargash, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign affairs tweeted: “We are siding with initiatives that preserve the region’s security and push the spectre of confrontation away from it.”

The safeguarding of passageways and ships across this region is vital to our shared interests. Navigational security through the Strait of Hormuz will be guaranteed by the international community, and the UAE stands firmly behind those efforts.