As part of the ongoing Bahrain Maritime Festival (BMF), the Kingdom’s landmark celebration of the World Maritime Day (WMD), the General Organisation of Sea Ports (GOP) today honoured more than 50 Bahraini seafarers who have served the Kingdom’s maritime industry for twenty years and above. The awards were presented by Shaikh Daij bin Salman Al Khalifa, Chairman of GOP at a prestigious reception, which was attended by more than 200 business and maritime leaders, government officials, members of the diplomatic corps, honoured mariners, media and guests at the Sheraton Hotel. Fittingly designed to reflect this year’s World Maritime Day theme “The Year of the Seafarer’, the awards recognised the indispensable services of the local seafarers, a workforce that is largely unheralded and unacknowledged. Though many Bahraini seafarers are now retired or have taken up other opportunities, their mark on the local economy remains unforgotten. Commenting on their contributions to the growth of the maritime industry, Shaikh Daij bin Salman Al Khalifa, Chairman of GOP said; “ As we pay tribute to the Kingdom’s long serving seafarers; we take this opportunity to convey that the entire shipping community appreciates and values their indispensable services. The legacy that our seafarers have handed down to one another is one of pride in a job well done, of attention to detail, of skills diligently learned and painstakingly applied; in short of seamanship. As an advocate of upholding the rights and privileges of seafarers we are proud to celebrate this landmark global event by honoring and promoting our seafarers.” In support of World Maritime Day, the international celebration of the maritime industry, the Kingdom of Bahrain is launching the region’s first maritime festival in Bahrain. BMF consists of several activities and events aimed at seafarers, students, industry professionals, stakeholders and the general public. These activities have been designed to generate greater awareness of Bahrain’s growing maritime industry among students, business executives and the general public, all of whom can rightly take pride in the Kingdom’s achievements and developments in the shipping and logistics industry. As part of the festival, a Maritime photography exhibition titled “The Mariner” will commence tomorrow at the Bahrain City Centre featuring over 40 images that capture historical and contemporary scenes from Bahrain’s sea-based legacy across four main categories: Pearling, Dhows, Industries and Modern Ports. Open to all, the exhibition will feature historic and contemporary sea-related images that will serve to capture the life of the seafarers at sea, and Bahrain’s ever-evolving maritime landscape. The images are all from local photography firm KSDi’s vintage archive, which has exclusive imagery of the historical pearling and marine facilities in Bahrain. Another exciting activity being planned during the festival week is “Careers in Maritime” University Tour, being held in cooperation with strategic partner Tamkeen. This will include a tour of universities conducted jointly by GOP, APM Terminals (APMT) Bahrain, the operator of Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP), and Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard Co (ASRY), the event’s strategic partners. The purpose behind the tour is to encourage a larger proportion of Bahraini students to pursue careers in the maritime industry, thereby strengthening the industry and Bahrain’s international position as a maritime centre. Finally, a Seafarers’ Welfare Day is being organised by APMT, to be held at KBSP especially for seafarers visiting the port. A special service offering free medical check-ups for all incoming seafarers will be provided, and a blood drive campaign will be held for APMT and GOP staff members. The GOP joins many countries worldwide, including Australia, Argentina, Canada, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States to celebrate World Maritime Day. This landmark event is celebrated annually world-wide in the last week of September. 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.