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UK-based Convoy Escort Programme (CEP) is finalising steps to begin operations through the Internationally Recognised Transit Corridor (IRTC), following prolonged negotiations with shipping and insurance companies, Muscat Daily has reported. . The company aims to operate a fleet of 18 patrol vessels, which will escort client vessels and fight off any attacks by pirates, who for a number of years have preyed on vulnerable ships in the area. The firm is in talks to find a 'home port' where the patrol vessels would be based in the region, CEP said.