Festival highlights Bahrain’s maritime achievements and developments and enhances the Kingdom’s position on the global maritime map Manama, 26 September 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 during the period of 20th - 25th of September, 2010. 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. This year’s World Maritime Day was aimed at spreading greater awareness of the maritime industry and focusing attention on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and marine environment, and paying 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.H.E Shaikh Daij Chairman of GOP commented on Bahrain’s celebrations of WMD, saying, “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.”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 the 21st of September under the patronage of Shaikh Daij bin Salman Al Khalifa, Chairman of GOP. 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 22nd 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”. The exhibition was open to the public and featured historic and contemporary sea-related images capturing the life of the seafarers at sea, and Bahrain’s ever-evolving maritime landscape.
A “Careers in Maritime” university tour took place from the 21st to the 24th of September 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 including Ahlia University, Bahrain University and the Bahrain Polytechnic and conducted a series of lectures aimed at enabling students to learn more about the maritime industry, The speakers, each an industry expert, shared their experiences and knowledge with the students in order to encourage more Bahraini students to pursue careers in the maritime industry, thereby strengthening Bahrain’s international position as a maritime centre in the long run.
The final activity of the week was Seafarers’ Welfare Day, which was organised by APMT and held on-site at KBSP on the 23rd of September. Visiting seafarers whose ships called at the port for the day weregiven 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. This new project was announced by Shaikh Daij at the awards ceremony held on Tuesday the 21st of September, and has received a highly positive response from the local shipping community.
The Bahrain Maritime Festival sponsors include: ASRY, the event’s strategic partners, and Bahrain Polytechnic, as the sliver sponsor. Bronze sponsors are Almoayed Wilhelmsen Ltd, Banz Group BSC, Al Jazeera Shipping Co. W.L.L., and Sea Eagles Marine Services S.P.C. Media partners are Al Watan Newspaper and Al Ayam Newspaper.
-ends –About General Organisation of Sea PortsThe General Organisation of Sea Ports (GOP) was established on September 2006 with a mission to develop Bahrain’s maritime industry and infrastructure and regulate its operation in line with the Kingdom’s Economic Vision 2030 development strategy. The GOP’s overarching responsibility lies in guiding the development of strategies to position Bahrain as a global leader in the maritime industry. As a regulator, the GOP is responsible for supervising all maritime safety and environmental matters and ensuring adequate infrastructure is in place to serve the needs of the Kingdom’s seaports, including the region’s newest state-of-the-art port Khalifa Bin Salman Port. The GOP is also responsible for operating and developing the Bahrain Logistics zone. Adhering to the highest international quality standards of safety, environment and security, the GOP aims to position the Kingdom as the strategic gateway and trans shipment hub to the northern Gulf.World Maritime Day (WMD)Every year IMO celebrates World Maritime Day. The exact date is left to individual Governments but is usually celebrated during the last week in September. The day is 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.
To mark the occasion, the Secretary-General of IMO always prepares a special message and this is backed up by a paper which discusses the selected subject in greater depth.