Bahrain launches sea curfew
Manama, March 20, 2011
A curfew has been introduced in Bahrain's waters as part of efforts to beef up security.
The BDF yesterday announced all vessels would be prohibited from sailing between 5pm and 6am until further notice, with any violators potentially facing action.
The order named coasts from Fasht Al Athem, Hidd and other areas to be off limits and stressed three checkpoints manned by Coastguard had also been introduced.
However, the curfew is set to have a major impact on the country's beleaguered fishermen, many of who have not gone to sea for at least five days due the unrest and stormy weather.
Fishermen's Protection Society president Jassim Al Jeran said he had already received complaints from the fishermen about the decision.
'Weather conditions in the past five days did not allow fishermen to sail and support their families,' he said.
'That combined with the unrest as well as having the shrimp ban introduced last week only left them with so little to spare to try to make ends meet and ensure a decent living for their families.
'This new curfew, as much as we respect it is needed, will only worsen the situation for us fishermen, who are dependent on the sea to make a living.'
Al Jeran said around 450 dhows had been moored in jetties across Bahrain due to the situation.
'I am afraid this curfew could get some fishermen to start falling into debit because they can't secure food on the table for their families,' he said.
The society is now seeking more details from the Coastguard on the curfew, in hope of finding some areas not included.
It will also seek the intervention of Muharraq Governor Salman Bin Hindi, if no alternatives are found.
Society secretary-general Abdulameer Al Mughani said some Asian fishermen had already fled the country following the unrest, leaving Bahraini dhow owners with no labourers to help in the catch. 'This is a very bad situation,' he said.
'Some Asian fishermen have already told their sponsors they will leave the country and paid for their ticket back home, not willing to come back until situation is stable.
'This is affecting the fishing sector as we do not have enough fish anyway now.'
Fish Trader Sayed Hisham Ali backed up his comment's saying all the fish in Bahrain's markets was from Saudi Arabia or Oman.
'There is no fish for the past week now,' he revealed. 'My job is on the line as every day I visit the markets in hopes of trading fish, but I do not find any Bahraini fish to spare.'
Ali, who is the main fish trader that supplies to major companies such as Jawad supermarkets, said he had already lost more than BD600.
'If there is no fish to trade I do not have money to spend to support my family and their needs,' he said. 'I just hope things get better so we can all go back to our normal lives once again.'
Bahrain earlier slammed Iranian 'interference' in its internal affairs, saying it represented an infringement of its sovereignty.
It was also announced that Kuwait's navy was heading to the country to help protect its territorial waters.
The maritime ban is as follows:
a) South-eastern limit: from Zweid in the east to Fasht Al Adham and is located on (26 06.3 N - 050 53.6 E).
b) Eastern limit: from Al Sahel to Jarada and is located on (26 13.9 N - 050 53.6 E).
from Khalifa bin Salman Seaport up to 6 nautical miles north-east, and is located on (26 22.5 N - 050 40.5 E).
c) Northern limit: from the northern coasts of the kingdom until 3 nautical miles northward, located on (26 17.5 N - 050 25.6 E).
d) Western limit: from the western coasts to up to 3 nautical miles westward and is located on (26 10.9 N - 050 21.1 E).
e) Southern limit: from Sadad coast to up to 6 nautical miles westward, located on (26 05.3 N - 050 21.1 E).
The BDF General command also urged all sailors to commit to the allowed sailing times and sail through the following maritime checkpoints:
a) East of Khalifa bin Salman Seaport, located on (26 12.1 N - 050 43.6 E).
b) North of Diyar Al Muharraq, (26 12.1 N - 050 43.6 E) .
c) North of Fisht Al Suheila, (26 21.0 N - 050 39.0 E).
Finally, the BDF General Command calls upon all sailors and fishermen to comply fully with the sailing interdiction decision in order to ensure their safety and avoid legal accountability.-TradeArabia News Service