Offshore marine support sector upbeat

Published October 20th, 2009 - 03:15 GMT

Enthusiastic response at Middle East Workboats; extra hall reserved for 2011

With the regional upsurge in vessels to support offshore developments, the Middle East Workboats 2009 exhibition and conference concluded recently with a dramatic increase in regional and international industry support and an enthusiastic response from participants.

In only its second year, the region’s premier maritime event for specialised vessels recorded a 70% increase in the number of exhibitors and a 60% increase in exhibition space compared with the previous event.

“The offshore marine support industry is upbeat about the future in this region and there can be no more powerful sign of the continuing development of the sector than the participation in this show of so many regional and international players,” said Christopher Hayman, Chairman of Seatrade, organisers of Middle East Workboats, which was held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC).

The organisers reported 2,676 high level participants – a 28% increase on last year - with visitors including government ministers, municipality officials and top management from a wide range of industries including the oil and gas sector.

Among them was Drydocks World, the Dubai headquartered company. “The Middle East is a significant market for all our yards and Workboats offers a great opportunity to showcase our capabilities,” said Geoff Taylor, Executive Chairman, Drydocks World, UAE

Developments in offshore activities in Abu Dhabi and the wider region is expected to feed through into further fleet expansions, according to several companies taking part.  Darwish Al Qubaisi, General Manager, Esnaad, UAE, said he was confident about the future due to large projects and the stabilising of crude oil prices. He added: “The event provides a great opportunity for delegates to discuss and share ideas and knowledge and to view the latest technologies and methods.”

Ma Guohua, Vice Mayor Zhoushan Municipality, People’s Republic of China, headed a large Chinese delegation of executives from the shipbuilding region to Middle East Workboats this year who were also seeking a share of the expanding market in the region. “We are exploring the international market and this region is very strong in the offshore supply support sector and that is why Middle East Workboats comes into the picture for us,” he said.

The opportunity for industry networking was a particular benefit, several exhibitors said. “We came to meet the owners and operators and have met the right people who are the right decision makers,” said Arthur Boogaard, Business Manager, Wartsila, Netherlands. “It is very important for us to be at Workboats in Abu Dhabi and will come back in 2011."
Christophe Mourot, Executive Vice President, Schottel, Germany, added: “This was our first time exhibiting at Middle East Workboats and it has exceeded our expectations. The visitors to the show were exactly who we wanted to meet and we have had a lot of enquiries for new business.”

Dharmesh Dhanani, Director, Lion Rubber, India, said: “As a new exhibitor to Middle East Workboats we came to meet with our existing clients and make new contacts. It is a great opportunity to be here and feel the pulse of the market.”

The third Middle East Workboats will be held at ADNEC from 26 – 28 September 2011 and the organisers have reserved an additional hall at ADNEC for further expansion. “We said last year that the 2009 Middle East Workboats would be 50% bigger but the event exceeded our own expectations,” said Hayman. “This event has quickly established itself as the premier regional show for the industry and we look forward to breaking new records next year.”

Principal sponsors of Middle East Workboats 2009 were DNV; Esnaad; and Irshad. Other sponsors are ABS; DVB; Khalid Faraj Shipping; Lamnalco; Svitzer; Topaz Energy & Marine; Wartsila; ZMI; and Zhoushan Municipal People’s Government, China. Supporting organisations were the International Marine Contractors Association and the Royal Institution of Naval Architects.

For more details about Middle East Workboats, please visit:

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