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Khamis Buamim in shock Drydocks World exit

Khamis Buamim in shock Drydocks World exit
In a shock development, Khamis Juma Buamim, the flamboyant personality who became the embodiment of Dubai’s shipping ambitions, has left Dubai’s Drydocks World and Maritime World sources tell Seatrade Global.

No official reason has been given for his departure, which is thought to have taken place last week.

A prominent member of the Dubai shipping community who requested anonymity told Seatrade Global that Buamim had resigned as chairman of Drydocks World and Maritime World, but would retain his position as chairman of the company’s Asia yards, which are now majority owned by the Kuok Group.

The source attributed the resignation to an untenable working relationship that emerged with Sultan bin Sulayem, head of Dubai Maritime City Authority, who is also chairman of DP World.

The clash in control over policy and direction at Dubai Maritime City, which was in the purview of both men’s mandates at the top of Dubai’s shipping leadership, could be a major blow to Dubai’s plans to be a leading shipping hub.

The vision for Dubai Maritime City as a glittering hub at the centre of the city’s shipping ambitions foundered in the global financial crisis of 2008-09, which put Dubai’s economy through the wringer.

Buamim has revived its fortunes by increasing the number of repair and shipbuilding tenants, and helping Drydocks World turn profitable with major offshore schemes, jack-up repair and headline projects, such as a refit for the QEII before it goes to Hong Kong as a floating hotel.

Some 11 jack-ups are being repaired or refurbished at DDW, a sign of rude financial health.

“It’s a shame. His charisma and leadership style will be missed,” said the source. “He can talk much better on our behalf than [many others].”

Buamim did not answer a call to his mobile yesterday Tuesday. A spokeswoman for Drydocks World and Maritime World said she could not respond to queries by phone.

Buamim was brought in to salvage the company in 2010 after its acquisition of ship repair yards in Singapore and Indonesia, involving the assumption of $2bn of debt, nearly bankrupting the company.

Some interpreted the move as a dismissal, evidence that the Government of Dubai, owner of DDW through Dubai World, decided that Buamim was hogging the limelight and therefore had to go.

Buamim certainly made his mark at Drydocks World, bringing the company back to life after being given a mandate to “close it down or turn it around.”

Buamim's welcome message still appears on Drydocks World's website home page, saying: "Strong business fundamentals and exemplary HSEQ culture are reflected in all of our working relationships with our people, our clients, our partners and all of our stakeholders."