Gulf Countries Keen To Boost Maritime Security


Sixty representatives from the GCC states, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen are participating in the first such seminar on security in the Arabian Gulf termed ‘Regional Seminar on Maritime Security’.

The meeting is being held under the patronage of Bahrain’s Minister of Interior, Lt-Gen Shaikh Rashid bin Abdulla Al Khalifa, who inaugurated the forum.

“Maritime security must be increased to ensure that the Gulf region maintains its economic importance and fulfils its role in the world economy. The fact that in 2006, over 12,300 merchant ships in excess of 2,000 tonnes, transited the region is an indication of the importance of maritime security,’’ he said.

The seminar was also attended by the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), a United Nations body.

The four-day seminar is being organised by Bahrain’s General Organisation of Sea Ports (GOSP) in association with the IMO.

When asked about the need for such a seminar when regional states are already cooperating in this regard, Shaikh Daij bin Sulman Al Khalifa, chairman of the GOSP, speaking to Khaleej Times, said: “There are some issues that need cooperation of all. We realised that the goal could be better achieved with a common strategy.’’

“In a changing global environment, it is impossible for any single country to implement policies and establish mechanisms to totally secure its marine and coastal areas. It can only be achieved by an integrated approach with support from maritime organisations like the IMO,’’ Shaikh Daij said.

In his address, he said maritime cooperation “will go a long way in securing not only national coasts but also that of the entire maritime world’’. He stressed it was “extremely important that Gulf region states work together to combat the plundering of shared fishing sources and illegal dumping at sea’’.

Sub-regional cooperation should take into account global terrorism threats, smuggling, human trafficking and other issues, he added.The seminar concludes on April 26 wih a ‘declaration’ on a new maritime strategy.


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