Aboard an Israel Navy Patrol Boat Protecting Israel’s Gas Rigs – Yuval Azulai (Globes)
(dailyalert.org., Apr. 23, 2014)
The Israel Navy’s high speed patrol boats are tasked with helping to protect Israel’s natural gas infrastructure in the Mediterranean. Two huge platforms rise from the sea, the Mari B rig and the Tamar platform. The Navy must also deal with hundreds of vessels offshore from Gaza, mostly fishing boats, under the cover of which terrorists gather intelligence for planning attacks.
In recent weeks, Lt. Col. A. was on a patrol boat that disrupted arms smuggling from Sinai. “We saw two Gazan boats enter Egyptian waters and reach a beach in Sinai. Later, loaded with equipment, they headed back to Gaza camouflaged as fishing boats….A few hundred meters from the Gaza coast, we opened accurate fire at them.”
“When so much munitions explode, you can see it from kilometers away….I saw two fireballs that lasted until the dawn.” The Navy’s central command system has the “ability to indicate the precise location of every vessel in Israeli waters at any given moment, mark threatening vessels in red, unidentified vessels in purple, and identified and unthreatening vessels in green. It has many other features that help the Navy control Israel’s waters, which is double the size of the country’s land area.”
Even a waterskier a few hundred meters from shore is marked on the system’s screens, and will be closely monitored. “At any given moment, there are between 300 and 1,300 vessels in our waters. We identify all of them, and if necessary, we check them.”