Bahrain plans maritime education fund
Manama, September 28, 2011
Bahrain General Organisation of Sea Ports (GOP) has announced a new fund for promoting and supporting maritime education and training through scholarships to Bahraini students.
The GOP board gave green light to the proposal for establishing the maritime education Fund a day before the opening of the second annual Bahrain Maritime Festival (BMF).
The fund is being set up to provide scholarships and financial support to assist Bahraini nationals, selected through a fair and transparent process, for pursuing higher education and training, said the Bahrain GOP in a statement.
In setting up the fund, the GOP realizes the importance of ensuring availability of well-educated and trained local manpower to help the Bahrain maritime sector to prosper and remain competitive in the global maritime community.
The launch of the fund, which is expected to become operational by the beginning of next year, follows a detailed study that has laid out the structure, criteria, possible programmes and selection process for applicants.
This initiative is part of a multi-pronged strategy devised by the GOP to enhance capacity-building and help promote the career potential of the maritime industry to preserve Bahrain’s deep-rooted sea-based tradition.
Another important initiative that has reached fruition coinciding with the launch of BMF 2011 is the completion of the Seafarer’s Centre, a project that was initially announced during the first annual BMF last year.
The Seafarer’s Centre, located at the Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP), will be inaugurated tomorrow (September 29), and will provide a premises for the international seafarers calling at the port and office space to Bahrain International Seafarers Society (BISS).
The new centre will enable BISS to provide international seafarers various amenities, services and support for rest and relaxation.
Expressing delight at the two new major developments at GOP, chairman Shaikh Daij bin Salman Al Khalifa said, "These are the culmination of much hard work, and both reflect the gradual implementation of our Strategic Plan 2011-2016."
The maritime festival opened with an industry seminar entitled “Addressing Piracy.” The topic reflects what has been much on the minds of industry insiders due to the steadily increasing threat of piracy on the global maritime, shipping and logistics industry.
The seminar’s topic was chosen to directly tie into the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) theme for World Maritime Day 2011: “Piracy: Orchestrating the Response,” said Shaikh Daij.
The seminar saw more than 130 maritime industry professionals and stakeholders, with key international speakers visiting Bahrain specifically to address the audience.
The speakers included Nick Charalambous, head of Maritime Safety and Security Division, Department of Merchant Shipping, Republic of Cyprus; Bent Nielsen, managing director of Maersk Tankers; Babak Jabbari, SVP of Projects and New Buildings and head of Maritime Operations at SeaBird Exploration; Richard Davey, director of Lambrook Services; Colonel Ala Abdulla Seyadi, commander of the Bahrain Coast Guard; Commander Todd Offutt, US Coast Guard - officer-in-charge, Maritime Liaison Office, (MARLO) Bahrain; and Captain Tony Neville Aldred, director Operations Combined Maritime Forces, Royal Australian Navy.
The overall objective for the seminar was to help all stakeholders adopt a practical, comprehensive and sustainable strategy to address maritime security and best practices to counter piracy.
BMF was first conceptualized by the GOP in 2010, and follows a week-long festival format, with a full agenda of activities, all of which revolve around the IMO’s theme or touch directly on the maritime industry.
The final activity of the festival will be the BMF Kids Carnival that will run from October 5 to 8 at the Bahrain City Center.
The carnival will include a number of activities aimed at entertaining children of all ages, and will feature a range of maritime-themed activities.
“Last year, we launched the BMF as a pilot initiative to test the level of interest and I am very pleased to report that we received great feedback, spurring this year’s event to be bigger and better,” said Shaikh Daij.
“Each year, we aim to have at least one business event, one educational event and one event for families to enjoy. Moreover, our outreach this year included a viral campaign to engage younger Bahrainis and we have been delighted with the response,” he added.-TradeArabia News Service