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Seatrade Middle East Maritime 2006 sets new records

Dubai: This year's Seatrade Middle East Maritime (SMEM) convention drew a record attendance of more than 5,000 participants from 63 countries at the World Trade Centre in Dubai, December 4-6. Overall participation was up 30% over the last edition in 2004.

"SMEM has evolved into one of the world's fastest-growing maritime events and now ranks among the industry's top 10 exhibitions and conferences. It is being recognised as a truly international forum and as the Middle East's maritime industry develops, SMEM will evolve in tandem," said Seatrade's md Christopher Hayman (pictured).

The SMEM exhibition, opened by DP World chairman Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, was 33% larger than in 2004 and spanned 3,500 sq mtr to accommodate 235 exhibitors from 35 countries. Companies from Bangladesh, France, Germany, Libya, South Korea and Holland were among newcomers to the show. Accompanying conference sessions on general shipping, cruise and superyacht drew more than 300 delegates.

In a significant news development, the impending formation of the UAE Shipowners Association was officially announced at SMEM. President elect Sharafuddin Sharaf outlined the aims and structure of the new body at Seatrade's Dubai International Maritime Awards (DIMA) gala presentation dinner on Dec 4.

At the DIMAs, where over 800 guests crowded into the banqueting hall of the Grand Hyatt Hotel to applaud 12 regional companies rewarded for best practice in their respective sectors, Vela president and ceo Saleh K'aki collected Seatrade Personality of the Year for West and Central Asia, presented by guest of honour Mohammad Souri, Chairman and md of NITC.

SMEM 2008 will run from December 14-16, and is expected to be much bigger yet given the level of interest expressed and repeat exhibitor bookings, say the organisers.  [08/12/06]

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