The region’s premier maritime event for specialized vessels opening Monday, 5 October 2009, is shrugging off the impact of the economic downturn with a 70% increase in the number of exhibitors and a 60% increase in exhibition space compared with last year, according to the organizers.
Workboats include tugs, ferries, supply vessels; police, fire, patrol, pilot, rescue and oil spill boats; along with, dredgers, barges and floating cranes. More than 2,000 such vessels are estimated to be docked or repaired in the Middle East.
The Middle East Workboats exhibition and conference – now in its second year - is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister for Public Works and Chairman of the National Transport Authority. He has described the event as “an important platform for the industry” in light of the large number of marine projects including new islands, gas and oil operations requiring marine transport and related services.
More than 170 exhibitors will be taking part – a 70% increase compared with 2008, Seatrade said in a statement. They are coming from 25 countries – a 5% increase on 2008 - and have booked 60% more exhibition space than last year. There are also three country pavilions - China, Singapore and Spain – along with five of the international vessel classification societies taking part.
The Middle East Workboats conference will address key issues impacting the industry, including the unprecedented changes in the global economy. Regional and international speakers will also discuss crewing and manning for the workboat sector; safety and efficiency; contractual issues; offshore financing; pollution prevention and clean-up methods.
Piracy, its threat to free trade and safe passage will be dealt with in an open panel session, including sensitive issues such as shipboard security. Piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Somali Basin will be discussed by Commander Neil Parsonage, Officer in Command, UK Maritime Trade Operations. Hostage negotiations will be handled by Tim Stear, Country Manager of Control Risks and an insurance perspective will be provided by William Tobin, Underwriting Manager, of Shipowners’ Protection Ltd.
During the exhibition, a newly built crew boat, the Topaz Fujairah, will be moored at the Capital Marina opposite ADNEC with transfers being arranged from the Topaz stand. Topaz Fujairah is a catamaran designed to service platforms and vessels up to 50 nautical miles from port. The vessel was built by Topaz Shipbuilding in Fujairah and is operated by Topaz Marine MENA.
Principal sponsors of Middle East Workboats 2009 are 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 are the International Marine Contractors Association and the Royal Institution of Naval Architects.