Dubai: The United Arab Emirates has
opened a naval base on its east coast that would allow it to
bypass the Strait of Hormuz if Iran were ever to close the
strategic waterway, local media reported on Thursday.
Almost all oil exports from OPEC`s fourth-largest
producer now go through Gulf waters and pass the narrow
strait, which separates the emirates from Iran, before
reaching the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.
The new base is located in the emirate of Fujairah,
and gives direct access to the Arabian Sea.
"The base will also provide a quick response to
natural and man-made disasters that may occur at sea, in
addition to ... ensuring safe and quick passage for its oil
exports," the official WAM news agency said.
The opening ceremony was held yesterday and attended
by Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammad al-Sharqi, ruler of Fujairah.
The emirate of Abu Dhabi, which holds more than 90
percent of UAE crude reserves, is building at the site a huge
oil-export facility and an oil pipeline to it at a cost of
several billion dollars.
It is also building an oil-storage terminal there, as
well as power and water treatment plants and a facility to
store imported grain.
Iran has repeatedly threatened to block navigation
through the Strait of Hormuz, through which about 60 percent
of the world`s oil supply passes, if it is ever attacked by
the United States.