Bahrain marks World Maritime Day
Manama, September 26, 2010
The General Organisation of Sea Ports (GOP) this week celebrated the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) World Maritime Day 2010, as part of its strategic initiative to further boost Bahrain’s standing in the global maritime landscape.
In support of the World Maritime Day (WMD), the international celebration of the maritime industry, the GOP hosted the first annual Bahrain Maritime Festival from September 20 to 25.
Under the IMO’s 2010 theme of The ‘Year of the Seafarer’, this year’s events included numerous activities specifically geared towards engaging and honouring Bahrain’s many seafarers.
The IMO initiated the World Maritime Day to commemorate the international maritime industry’s contribution towards the global economy, specifically in the shipping and logistics sectors.
The WMD was aimed at spreading greater awareness of maritime industry and focusing attention on importance of shipping safety, maritime security and marine environment, said a top official.
Also the event paid tribute to the 1.5 million seafarers across the globe for their unique contribution to society and in recognition of the risks they shoulder in the execution of their duties in an often hostile and dangerous environment, remarked Shaikh Daij, chairman of GOP.
Commenting on Bahrain’s WMD celebrations, he said, 'We are proud of the success that we witnessed at the launch event of Bahrain Maritime Festival 2010, and hope to hold this event annually, building upon the event in the future and engaging a broader audience.'
“We aim at positioning Bahrain as a global maritime centre, and BMF is a step in the right direction as part of our ongoing commitment and dedication in being an active part of the regional and international maritime industry community. We are sure that this event has shed new light on the importance of the maritime sector in Bahrain and its future developments,” he added.
To commemorate the WMD 2010, the GOP held a week of festivities, the first of its kind in the country, to increase accessibility and allow for a range of activities.
Consisting of four main activities that spanned a week specifically targeted towards past and future generations of seafarers in line with WMD theme, the activities highlighted the Kingdoms achievements and developments in the shipping and logistics industry.
Following the signing of an agreement in India to host the 8th Trans Middle East Conference and Exhibition in Bahrain, BMF kicked off in the Kingdom with the Seafarers Awards Ceremony which was held on September 21 under the patronage of Shaikh Daij.
Over 50 long- serving eligible Bahraini seafarers – both current and retired-- were honoured and presented with awards during a dedicated reception which was attended by around 300 guests from the public and private sectors.
A maritime photography exhibition was also held at Bahrain City Centre throughout the festive week. Launched on September 22 and inaugurated by Shaikh Daij with around 60 guests in attendance, the photo exhibition was organised by GOP in partnership with local photography firm KSDi, under the name of “The Mariner”.
A “Careers in Maritime” university tour took place from Sept 21 to 24 as part of the Bahrain Maritime Festival, in partnership with Tamkeen, complementing the international Maritime Organisation’s ongoing “Go to Sea” campaign, where speakers from GOP, APM Terminals Bahrain (APMT), the operator of Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP), ASRY and Tamkeen went on a tour of universities in Bahrain.
The final activity of the week was Seafarers’ Welfare Day, organised by APMT and held on-site at KBSP on September 23. Visiting seafarers whose ships called at the port for the day were given free medical check-ups at the KBSP health clinic, while a blood drive was held for APMT and GOP staff members.
As a show of support for the international shipping community, the GOP’s board of directors announced its approval of a new building to be located at KBSP which would provide international seafarers visiting Bahrain with a place to rest and relax during their stay at the Kingdom.-TradeArabia News Service