Piracy tops agenda at regional workboats conference

Published June 28th, 2009 - 08:29 GMT

Middle East Workboats conference to debate piracy issues as German cargo vessel becomes latest casualty in Arabian Gulf

Piracy issues will top the agenda at the Middle East Workboats conference in the wake of the recent attack on a German cargo vessel the MV Charelle, just 60 nautical miles south of Sur in Oman. The hijacking has literally brought the issue of piracy much closer to home for the region’s maritime professionals.

“Attacks are now occurring further afield into the Red Sea around Aden and now more ominously into the Arabian Gulf,” commented Christopher Hayman, Chairman of Seatrade, the organiser of Middle East Workboats exhibition and conference.

According to the International Maritime Bureau more ships have been attacked off Somalia so far in 2009 than in the whole of 2008. There have been 132 reported attacks compared with 111 in 2008. 

“Ships must be more vigilant. The MV Charelle was caught unaware, without even raising any distress signals – they just did not expect it,” said Hayman.

“In addition, many smaller workboats are active in that part of the Gulf. In the past they have been targeted by pirates and used as ‘mother’ ships enabling pirates to launch attacks deeper into international waters,” he added.  

Piracy, its threat to free trade and safe passage is one of the key topics that will be examined at the 2009 Middle East Workboats exhibition and conference which takes place from 5-7 October at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister for Public Works and Chairman of the National Transport Authority.

Expert speakers taking part in the Piracy panel discussion include; William Tobin, Underwriting Manager, The Shipowners’ Protection and Floyd Woodrow, Operations Director, Cerberus International a specialist in supplying training, protection and security services.
Other highlights of the three-day conference include sessions covering commercial and contractual issues, new innovative products, crewing and training and design, construction and safety.

Workboats are classified by Seatrade as tugs, ferries, supply vessels; police, fire, patrol, pilot, rescue and oil spill boats; along with, dredgers, barges and floating cranes, with more than 2,000 such vessels estimated to be docked or repaired in the Middle East.

Principal sponsors of Middle East Workboats 2009 are DNV, ESNAAD, Irshad. Other sponsors are DVB, ABS, Lamnalco, Svitzer, Topaz Energy & Marine and Wartsila. Supporting organisations are the International Marine Contractors Association and the Royal Institution of Naval Architects.

For more details about Middle East Workboats 2009, please visit: www.middleeastworkboats.com

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