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MENAS to survey aids to navigation in Bahrain waters

Photo: IFAN Peter Stanley, CEO of MENAS and IFAN
Peter Stanley, CEO of MENAS and IFAN
The Middle East Navigation Aids Service (MENAS) has signed an agreement with Bahrain’s Ports and Maritime Affairs (PMA) office to remove and replace three abandoned light beacons in the Northwest of Bahrain and to survey all aids to navigation (AtoNs) in Bahraini waters.

Operating from its main base in Bahrain and a support base in Abu Dhabi, MENAS, a branch of the International Foundation for Aids to Navigation (IFAN), owns and maintains an extensive network of buoys, lighthouses and racons, mostly located in remote areas more than 12 nautical miles from the shore, and generally in hazardous areas such as narrow waterways leading to main ports, it said.

The Maersk operated and managed Khalifa Bin Salman Port is subject to frequent visits by international container lines as it handles around 500,000 teu a year, while Bahrain also has an extensive offshore fleet to service its oil and gas exploration and production efforts. Bahrain’s Gulf Industrial investment Company is also a major regional player in the iron ore shipment trade, while the Arabian Ship Repair Yard (ASRY) is also a major maintenance facility in the region.

Peter Stanley, CEO of MENAS and IFAN, said the survey would help to improve the provision of an AtoN service in Bahraini waters by meeting mariners’ needs while optimising and specifying the correct quantity and type of AtoN needed in each area, based on volume of traffic and degree of risk.

“Importantly, it will help the PMA and other owners in maintaining the service of the AtoNs to the necessary standard,” he said.

The MENAS team claims it holds International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) AtoN and risk assessment certificates. “MENAS will be using two IALA risk assessment tools, SIRA and IWRA, and the engineers will visually inspect and evaluate the condition, efficiency and effectiveness of each AtoN, before issuing a certificate containing detailed information of the AtoN as well as any recommendations,” it said.

“MENAS has divided Bahraini waters into nine zones and will evaluate AtoNs in each zone through that AtoN’s usage factor. This will provide mariners with the necessary guidance either marking a channel or isolating danger or keeping the vessels out of a particular danger zone.”

“We’re delighted to be working on this important project to promote safety in the region,” said Mahdi Al Mosawi, MENAS General Manager. “MENAS is proud to be working for the PMA and supporting the Bahraini government in maintaining safe navigable waters around the islands.”