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Terror Threat to Saudi Oil Facilities Reported

Saudi Arabia confirmed last week that it was ramping up security precautions throughout the kingdom after receiving a perceived terrorist threat. Coalition naval forces in the Gulf region have also been instructed to be on guard for possible terror threats against oil facilities in the Middle East nation. Last month’s reported al-Qaida threats resulted in increased security at both the Ras Tanura terminal in Saudi Arabia and another facility in Bahrain.

Crude oil prices on world markets edged up last Friday as the potential threat became known. Ras Tanura is the world's largest offshore oil loading facility and can pump up to 6 million barrels of oil daily. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter. Western naval assets in the Persian Gulf have now been deployed to counter possible seaborne threats to the Ras Tanura oil terminal.

Tactical Defense Concepts (TDC), a maritime security consulting and training group, offered the following analysis of the news: While the threat to oil facilities in the Middle East has been high in recent years, this particular warning has appeared in multiple sources. Company Security Officers (CSO) and Vessel Security Officers (VSO) are encouraged to be alert for "sea based" terror attacks originating from ashore or a mother ship in the Gulf area. Groups in the Gulf have used a variety of platforms to surveille, attack / harass maritime assets including, but not limited to dhows, fishing vessels, high speed small craft and rubber raiding craft. A good radar watch, solid communications and other precautions such as lookouts with night vision gear, are recommended. It is always a good time to conduct DC and FF drills, but in a period of elevated alert, the meaning and effectiveness of these drills can be even better.

Tactical Defense Concepts (TDC) was created by Joseph Tenaglia, an experienced, former United States’ Naval Commander who recognized the importance and urgency of providing threat awareness and security services to the maritime sector. Tenaglia’s personal experience training thousands of maritime personnel in the government sector is the foundation for TDC’s threat awareness and security training. This experience includes developing and instructing an anti-terrorist course for Department of Defense operated and contracted vessels. Tactical Defense Concept’s services are in compliance with:

•The United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO)

•The International Ship and Port and Facility Security (ISPS) Code Amendments to SOLAS, 1974

•Maritime Transportation and Security Act 2002