Abu Dhabi: The National Transport Authority has announced new safety measures for all UAE commercial ships in a bid to protect against piracy.

Commercial ships registered under the National Transport Authority (NTA) and carrying over 300 tons of cargo and bearing a UAE flag will now have to be outfitted with tracking devices, and provide protection onboard in regional and international waters.

During a press conference held on Monday, Salem Al Za’abi, Acting Director General of NTA, said that a total of 150 ships owned by companies and maritime offices in the country have been outfitted with the new system, which came as a response to ships being subjected to maritime piracy in international waters and as per agreements signed between the UAE and the International Maritime Organisation.

“The new system will be installed on the remaining ships, which are more than 850. The new system will allow the ships to be constantly monitored,” he said.

“As per the new rule, central operations offices have been set up in the Authority’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The offices will monitor the ships round the clock, and will provide updates and reports to the authority’s director every six hours,” said Al Za’abi.

“The system will allow us to address challenges and dangers that might face these ships by co-operating with the specialised regional and international authorities.”