The General Organisation of Sea Ports (GOP), the custodian of Bahrain’s rich maritime legacy, is gearing up to host the World Maritime Day (WMD) Parallel Event scheduled to take place on 17th and 18th October, 2012. Based on the 2012 theme - “IMO: One hundred years after the Titanic” preparations are underway to organise maritime themed-activities to highlight and showcase developments made in maritime safety over the past 100 years.
This year’s theme calls back to the Organisation’s very roots, and will take stock of the improvements made over the past 100 years in ensuring the safety of life at sea. High level representatives from the international maritime community are expected to attend the event in Bahrain, including the Secretary General of the IMO, Mr. Koji Sekimizu; Chairman of the IMO Maritime Safety Committee, Mr. Christian Breinholt; Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), Commander Peter Hinchliffe; Chairman of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), Mr. Tom Boardley, Managing Director of the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (INTERTANKO) Ms Katharina Stanzel, and Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the Maritime Safety Division – IMO, Mr. Andrew Winbow,
The Parallel Event will include a one-day seminar on the first day, the first session of which will address the “100 Years of Safety at Sea” aspect of the WMD theme for this year, while the second session will focus on “Implementation of Safety Standards”. The second day will include a number of site visits to key maritime locations within the Kingdom, including the state-of-the-art Khalifa Bin Salman Port, as well as the Arab Ship Building and Repair Yard (ASRY), amongst others.
World Maritime Day is an annual global initiative launched by the IMO and celebrated every year in London during the last week of September. In 2005, the IMO Council decided to hold the Parallel Day Event in one of the IMO member states aimed at raising the profile of shipping around the world for additional celebrations. The Kingdom of Bahrain will be the eighth country in the world to host this highly prestigious event. Both World Maritime Day and the Parallel Event are used to focus attention on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment, and to emphasize a particular aspect of IMO's work.
The Kingdom of Bahrain pioneered the idea of the Bahrain Maritime Festival (BMF) in 2010, conceptualizing the week-long activity-filled celebration based on the IMO theme for the year or touch directly on the maritime industry. The Festival aims to generate greater awareness of Bahrain’s growing achievements and developments, raise awareness of the impact of the maritime industry on daily life, and further position Bahrain as a pioneer in the global maritime industry.
Commenting on the plans for the upcoming Parallel Event, Hassan Ali Al Majed, Director General of the GOP said, “A significant portion of our responsibility as Bahrain’s maritime regulator lies in ensuring the safety of everyone who uses Bahrain’s waterways in any capacity. This year’s theme of safety at sea is therefore of particular importance to us, and we are glad to be able to bring our colleagues and peers from around the world to explore both the legacy and the future of safety at sea.”
As the maritime regulator, GOP is committed to supporting the IMO’s initiatives and adhering strictly to international standards and best practices, promoting and strengthening Bahrain’s maritime capabilities as the preferred transshipment hub in the region, focusing on the development of its maritime and logistics infrastructure and spreading greater awareness about the maritime industry to a broader audience thereby building strategic relationships with industry stakeholders.