Deputy Chairman of the Maritime Transport Authority: The Saudi fleet includes 10 of the world’s largest carriers.
Farid Al-Qahtani, Deputy Chairman of the General Authority for Maritime Transport, revealed on the sidelines of the conference “Sustainable Marine Development Towards 2030 and Beyond,” which concluded on Thursday, new figures in Saudi Arabia’s maritime transport industry; nearly 55 new ships were registered under the Saudi flag until the end of 2019, to be added to the huge Saudi fleet of 368 ships, explaining that Saudi Arabia owns about 10 of the largest ships in the world recently registered.
Al-Qahtani said that Saudi Arabia is a member of 40 international conventions issued by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the last three of which was signed in 2019.
Al-Qahtani considered signing these agreements is of great importance, as they positively reflect on Saudi Arabia’s maritime transport industry, which indicates its commitment with the other IMO’s member states to what the organization issues, pointing out that it enhances the safety of vessels flying under the Saudi flag and contributes to protecting the Kingdom’s waters and beaches from pollution, raising the efficiency of workers on board ships and facilitating the movement of navigation to significantly support the national economy.
Al-Qahtani also explained that a national strategy has been adopted between the Authority and national partners to implement international maritime conventions and others.
On the academic side of the maritime transport industry, Al-Qahtani pointed out that two colleges for maritime studies have been accredited, which will positively reflect on contributing to fill the shortage in the qualified marine cadres to work in this vital sector, revealing that for the first time this year, Saudi Arabia began issuing the Marine Competence Certificate (COC) through the General Authority for Transport, pointing out that the highest scientific and practical standards are applied to grant this certificate in accordance with the STCW training and business agreement.
Speaking about the efforts exerted to preserve the marine environment, Al-Qahtani stressed the continuation of supporting local, international and regional trends aimed at protecting the environment of the seas and oceans and reducing the sources of marine pollution, pointing out that the National Transformation Program, which aims to achieve the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030, gives environmental protection, conservation of natural resources and sustainable development high priority.
Al-Qahtani explained that as a result of these efforts and the application of the highest international standards to protect against marine pollution, Saudi Arabia’s shores are free of marine pollution, although 13% of the global ship traffic passes along them, especially in the Red Sea though the passage of ships and tankers is one of the most marine pollutants .
Al-Qahtani explained that Saudi Arabia has achieved qualitative leaps in the field of maritime transport in the last two years in terms of registering ships and their tonnage; the tonnage between 2017 and 2018 has more than doubled to reach 8 million tons, expecting that these jumps to reach about 9 million tons until the end of the year.
Al-Qahtani stressed that modern and new ports that can receive ships and tankers of all types and sizes is one of the most important pillars that boosts the strength of Saudi Arabia’s maritime transport industry, in addition to Saudi Arabia’s huge fleet. These ports adopt the latest electronic procedures to enhance their competitiveness in line with the pillars of Saudi Vision 2030 to make the Kingdom a global logistics platform and a major center of trade. These ports also apply the highest standards of maritime safety to the extent that accidents recorded for vessels flying under the Saudi flag are negligible, and have recorded zero maritime accidents in the territorial waters this year.