Saudi Arabia pledges commitment to protecting global shipping

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Saudi Arabia’s newly-appointed permanent representative to the IMO Essam Al-Ammari (L), Saudi Transport Minister Nabeel Al-Amoudi (C) and International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary-General Kitack Lim (C-R) at the reception to promote the Kingdom’s membership to the IMO Council. (AN Photo/Sarah Glubb)
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Saudi Arabia’s Transport Minister Nabeel Al-Amoudi speaking during a reception in London to promote the Kingdom’s membership to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Council. (AN Photo/Sarah Glubb)
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Saudi Arabia’s newly-appointed permanent representative to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), Essam Al-Ammari, speaking during a reception in London to promote the Kingdom’s membership to the IMO’s Council. (AN Photo/Sarah Glubb)
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Saudi Arabia’s Transport General Authority hosted a reception in London to promote the Kingdom’s membership to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Council in the upcoming annual elections. (AN Photo/Sarah Glubb)
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Saudi Arabia’s Transport Minister Nabeel Al-Amoudi speaking during a reception in London to promote the Kingdom’s membership to the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Council. (AN Photo/Sarah Glubb)
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Saudi Transport Minister Nabeel Al-Amoudi co-hosted the event with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London. (AN Photo/Sarah Glubb)
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Saudi Transport Minister Nabeel Al-Amoudi co-hosted the event with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London. (AN Photo/Sarah Glubb)
Updated 06 October 2019

Saudi Arabia pledges commitment to protecting global shipping

  • Transport minister says maritime security was a key issue for many countries, especially Saudi Arabia 
  • Kingdom is aiming to be elected to the International Maritime Organization’s Council 

LONDON: Protecting global shipping and developing international maritime trade growth was a key priority for Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom’s transport minister has pledged.
Speaking in London to promote Saudi membership of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Council at upcoming annual elections, Dr. Nabeel Al-Amoudi said: “The Kingdom is strategically located between the east and west, overlooking two of the world’s most important marine waters.”
The minister added that since the Kingdom’s accession to the UN agency in 1969, it had “consistently played a vital and effective role in the growth and development of the international maritime transport sector by preserving the marine environment and promoting the safety and security of the maritime transport industry.
“The Kingdom views that we have under-represented our achievements in the maritime sector and we hope, through our election, that we can reassert our presence to the IMO Council,” Al-Amoudi told delegates to the event, hosted by the Transport General Authority.

The IMO Council election comes at a time when freedom of navigation for international shipping in the waters in and around the Arabian Gulf has been the focus of heightened tensions with Iran.
Saudi Arabia, the US and other nations have accused Tehran of attacking shipping in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz while supporting Yemeni militias in disrupting navigation in the Red Sea and Bab Al-Mandab Strait.
Al-Amoudi said maritime security was a key issue for many countries, especially Saudi Arabia.
The gathering heard how Saudi Arabia held a leading global maritime role, with nine commercial and industrial ports along its 2,500-kilometer coastline linking Asia, Africa and Europe. The Red Sea to the west was a vital passage for about 13 percent of world trade, and the Arabian Gulf to the east, accounted for about 30 percent of international energy flow.
IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim told Arab News: “Saudi Arabia is one of the most important member states and has been working very hard and actively participating in all IMO meetings, so we are very satisfied. Also, the Kingdom is an important maritime shipping nation, both importing and exporting.
“There’s a lot of potential to develop collaboration between the IMO and Saudi Arabia, so we are working to enhance and collaborate more than before.”

On the Kingdom’s maritime role amid the current tensions with Iran, the newly-appointed Saudi permanent representative to the IMO, Essam Al-Ammari, told Arab News that the UN-based organization did not “deal with politics” and “these issues are discussed at a higher level in the UN or Security Council.”
However, Kitack said: “We are expecting that tensions should be eased as soon as possible, based on collaboration and dialogue among the stakeholders.”
Al-Ammari added that winning a seat on the IMO Council would be “something special; to have decisions and to work with other countries in developing the (maritime) laws for a safe and clean environment.”
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has significantly developed its maritime regulatory framework as part of its sweeping Vision 2030 reform program.

The Kingdom established the King Abdullah Port in King Abdullah Economic City and the King Salman International Complex for Maritime Industries and Services in Ras Al-Khair port that includes shipbuilding yards and a maritime academy. It has also built two maritime radio navigation satellite service stations to enhance nautical communication.
The country’s fleet has increased from 284 to 368 ships that carry the Saudi flag and its tonnage had more than doubled from 3.2 to 7.9 million tons by 2018, ranking it 23rd globally.
“Our capacity is over 600 million tons per annum,” Al-Amoudi said. “We look to increase that through private-sector investment in the coming years and you’ll hear some announcements soon. We are also looking to expand into the maritime building and shipbuilding sectors.”
The IMO has 172 member states, 40 of which serve in the council.

Global stars shine at Saudi leisure forum

Updated 12 min 50 sec ago

Global stars shine at Saudi leisure forum

  • “It (Saudi Movies) will bring Saudis closer to the world and the world closer to Saudi,” Shahrukh Khan 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia took another step toward establishing its place on the global entertainment map with a major industry event in Riyadh on Sunday.

The Joy Forum19 brought together entertainment promoters and pioneers from around the world, along with global stars such as Indian actor and film producer Shah Rukh Khan; Hong Kong martial artist, actor, film director Jackie Chan and Belgian actor and martial artist Jean-Claude Van Damme.

The event was organized by the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), which signed several important agreements on the day, including a financing guarantee program for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Participants are ushered in on the first day of the Joy Forum19 event in Riyadh. (AN photo by Noor Nugali)

“Our message is for both, locally and internationally. Me and my generation suffered a lot, we had lots of time on our hands,” GEA chairman Turki Al-Sheikh said at the event.

“Today you are witnessing things we have never had in Saudi Arabia. We have 300,000 visitors to our events, and our sales have hit 80 percent.

“Saudi Arabia has never seen anything like Riyadh Season, we have over 400 sponsors, which is unprecedented.”

Al-Sheikh announced that the authority had named a stadium after singer Mohammed Abdo, the “Artist of Arabs,” and another after Abu Baker Salim, the father of Khaleeji music. 

READ MORE: Three MoUs signed at opening day of Joy Forum19 in Riyadh

Drunken master

The actors expressed what it meant to be movie stars and how wide-reaching their influence could be.

Jackie Chan recalled that when he was a new actor, he often acted like a drunken fighter until he realized that he has a responsibility towards younger fans. 

Jackie Chan: no longer a "drunken master". (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)

“All over the world I keep drinking and fighting (in films).  I realized that I made drunken master cool — so I stopped,” he said. One of Chan's most popular movies was the 1978 action comedy martial arts film "Drunken Master".

“When you’re 20 you don’t have this inner thought — anything that makes the audience laugh you do, but later on especially (when I went) to Africa so many years ago — they started doing the drunken style — the children look up to me. So, I realized we have a responsibility to the children so all those years I corrected those actions: no dirty comedy words or action,” he said.

He attributed his awareness in being responsible for the content he produces to the fans. “I’m really thankful to the fans in making me a good actor.”

Chan spoke about his experience in acting martial arts in both the United States and Asia. “I realized we have two different markets one for America another for Asia. They are totally two different things.”

The safety measures the US takes for stunts is very impeccable making sure of the wellbeing of the actor comes first. However, in Asia it’s a different story, “In Asia when I want to do a stunt, I roll, jump (and then go to the) hospital, he said laughingly.

“It’s so difficult sometimes in the USA so many rules- Jackie Chan movies: NO RULES!” he said and received applause from the audience.


Good start

Jean Claude Van Damme gave a shout out and a big thank you to all his “brother and sisters from Saudi Arabia,” He said he got a royal treatment fit for “Kings and Queens”. He went on to reveal that his hotel room at the Ritz Carlton Riyadh was so big he could easily “roller-skate” in it.

Jean Claude Van Damme: "Let's do a movie together". (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)

“I’m honored to be invited here. I know it’s your first time to do this event, but I know it will have a very bright future and I hope next year you will invite more people,” he said.

He said he may not be a “good talker” but expressed his joy at being in Saudi Arabia saying. “I’m happy to be here and I hope to have more connection later with the audience.”

Van Damme remarked how that in every country in the world you have treasure actors and movies with different cultures, “In the Middle East I don’t know what the taste will be, but I know they love American, Asian and Indian movies. They have a broad taste. (Saudi Arabia) should do a movie with all of us together!”


Crossing barriers

Sharukh Khan emphasized the importance of every country telling their story through movies; “As long as we are telling the story in whatever language it doesn’t matter. Cinema crosses all barriers.”

Shahrukh Khan: "I'd audition for a Saudi movie". (AN photo by Noor Nugali)

With the opening of Saudi Arabia to the world and Cinemas, he said, “I can’t wait to talk about the Saudi films...It will bring Saudis closer to the world and the world closer to Saudi.”

“The stories that you tell should talk about goodness and people should be engaged with the content and it should bring them together. People want to laugh and sadly have to cry, to be entertained and to feel.”

Sharukh noted that Saudi Arabia has started to make movies and he’s watched the King Faisal movie, "Born a King". 

“You’ll always find gems in all movie industries and I think there’s are gems in Saudi and as a matter of fact one of the things I’d like to do is audition for a Saudi movie … Please give me an opportunity!” he said, eliciting a thunderous applause from the audience.

Red carpet

Abdulaziz AlMuzaini, co-founder and CEO of the Saudi Arabian Myrkott Animation Studio; gave a heartfelt thanks full of gratitude to King Salman and the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, saying: “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have dreamed of this moment or this panel.”

Some of the celebrities invited to the event walk the red carpet. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)

Lebanese actor Wahid Jalal, who was the voice of Long John Silver in Treasure Island, came onstage for the opening of the event. “Children love heroes and they try to imitate them,” he said. 

He also delighted the crowd by performing Silver’s famous laugh.

Some of the celebrities who walked down the red carpet were American actor Jason Momoa, star of Aquaman; Amr Adeeb, Balqis Fathi, Yusra, Boosy Shalabi, Lojien and Aseel Omran, Mohammed Hamaki, Nawal AlZoghbi, Talal Salama, Ahlam Al-Shamsi, Hussain AlJismi, Suad Abdulla, Ibrahem Alharbi, Tariq Alali and Abdulnaser Darweesh.

The gala dinner hosted 500 guests and was a private event, but the red carpet captured the essence of where Saudi is moving to culturally.