Bahrain sets up GCC maritime data centre
Manama, December 11, 2012
Bahrain Ministry of Transportation has announced the setting up of a co-operative data centre for long-range identification and tracking (LRIT) in order to facilitate closer co-operation among the GCC states on maritime security in the region.
It is an exclusive strategic initiative aimed at boosting regional maritime security in line with GCC Charter for LRIT of ships and international maritime Organisation (IMO) requirements, said a statement from the ministry's Ports and Maritime Affairs.
LRIT is a designated IMO system to collect and disseminate vessel position information received from member states ships that are subject to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (Solas), it stated.
The LRIT regulation provides global identification and tracking of ships and is mandatory for all Solas Contracting governments to implement, said the ministry statement.
Commenting on the move, Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, the Minister of Transportation said, “The formation of the GCC co-operative data centre is a significant milestone achievement for Bahrain. With this, we are able to provide GCC member states the facility to collect and store information on ships which will bolster regional cooperation and increase awareness in the maritime domain."
Bahrain being an IMO member, the Ministry of Transportation Ports and Maritime Affairs is committed and dedicated to fully and effectively implementing IMO sanctioned systems and standards to help further develop the global maritime industry, the minister stated.
"This new strategic initiative will help us at the Ministry of Transportation Ports and Maritime Affairs to maintain the Kingdom’s leadership position in the maritime industry and at the same time ensure that international standards as per IMO requirements are strictly adhered to," said Kamal bin Ahmed.
We remain committed to improving the efficiency of ports and supervising all maritime activities to further Bahrain’s growth as a regional transhipment hub and maritime centre“, he added.
The data centre, he said, was part of the LRIT system and contracting governments would receive information via National or Co-operative LRIT Data Centres using the International LRIT Data Exchange.
With the new centre, Bahrain will be able to provide Gulf states the facility to collect and store information on ships which will bolster regional co-operation and increase awareness in the maritime domain.
The long-range identification and tracking regulation provides for the global identification and tracking of ships and is mandatory for all International (Safety of Life at Sea) Convention Contracting Governments which Bahrain is party to.
Bahrain’s LRIT Data Centre now provides services to the Kuwait, Qatar and the UAE. The setup of the new centre was facilitated by Pole Star Space Applications, the LRIT service provider for the GCC member states.
The Kingdom has extended an open invitation to all Gulf states to join the co-operative data centre, which will enhance regional cooperation and increase maritime domain awareness.
The initiative is in line with the charter of the GCC, whose objectives are to effect coordination, integration and interconnection between member states by formulating similar regulations in all fields.
In September, the Ministry of Transportation Ports and Maritime Affairs had hosted a three-day sub-regional training workshop in partnership with the IMO, which provided an excellent platform for Port Facility Security Officers (PFSO) and maritime professionals to learn about the latest advanced technology systems used to enhance maritime security via the LRIT system.
The Ports and Maritime Affairs takes its role as regulator of Bahrain’s maritime sector very seriously, and has signed a number of international maritime pacts such as Solas, Marpol International Convention for Prevention of Pollution From Ships, STCW- International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers) to adopt international regulatory standards for safety, marine environment and others.-TradeArabia News Service