Bahrain ports open; operations slow
Dubai, March 17, 2011
All three ports in Bahrain remained open on Wednesday, but operations were slow due to growing unrest in the island nation, shipping sources said.
'All the ports are open: Sitra, Mina Sulman and Hidd,' a shipping source was quoted as saying in our sister publication, the Gulf Daily News.
'But there are staff shortages because of the protests, that's why cargo unloading is very slow,' the source added.
Bahrain is an exporter of high grade refined oil products, particularly to Europe and northern Asia.
The large 267,000 barrel per day (bpd) state-run Bahrain Petroleum Co refinery was partially shut for planned maintenance, but the country was still exporting significant volumes of products, traders said.
'Shipments have been running normally and there is no interruption of service. The refinery is undergoing a partial shutdown, but that was planned well in advance and stocks were built up for it,' said a Bahrain-based oil trader.
Unrest has also hit Oman with protestors, calling for political reform, pay rises and more jobs. Private security guards blocked Oman's main airport on Wednesday, witnesses said. Workers at state oil firm Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) had demonstrated on Tuesday.
Port and PDO officials in Oman told Reuters on Wednesday there were no interruptions or slowdowns with oil shipments.
Shipping sources said while most ports were open and operating normally with operations unaffected, there was a strike by workers at the Sultan Qaboos cargo terminal in Muscat.
An official with maritime company Inchcape Shipping Services said three cruise ships were at anchorage outside the port with a further vessel unable to discharge a cargo of bitumen.
'It's a strike situation there -- nothing is moving in our out at the moment,' the official said. – Reuters