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.


Saudi gamers lead the way at Nexus e-sports festival

Updated 7 min 59 sec ago

Saudi gamers lead the way at Nexus e-sports festival

  • The 3-day festival ended with a spectacular performance by R&B singer Jason Derulo
  • The festival aims to promote electronic sports in the region

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s EGZ was crowned champions in the main competition as American R&B star Jason Derulo ended the three-day Nexus gaming festival with a spectacular performance in Riyadh on Saturday.
The festival, an initiative of the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA), was the first to be staged by Riot Games in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as part of its strategy to promote electronic sports in the region.
Hundreds of people gathered at Riyadh Boulevard to witness the finals of the six competitions based on the League of Legends, and to enjoy a variety of activities and attractions.
EGZ won $400,000 as part of the total $2 million prize fund after defeating Nasr Esports in the main 5v5 Summoners Rift competition.
Coach Paul Ouani said that the festival was a great learning experience for his team and he hopes Riot Games can build on this success.
“Having the Nexus festival here is a great decision. There is enormous potential in e-sports, especially in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. With many people watching online and live at venues, it will only get bigger,” he said
Other winners included Bassel (5v5 influencer final) and Abdulrahman Toxichill Bahmaid (1v1 champion).
As well as promoting gaming, the three-day festival also featured a music concert by US line-ups Mako and the Crystal Method, and a variety of entertainment.
Onur Tamer, METAI general manager of Riot Games, said: “As the first event on this scale for the region, it was a fantastic effort by the whole team. We have delivered something that the community has been expecting for a long time and it was great to see strong turnout during the three days.
“Attracting people of different ages is crucial in this region and we wanted to focus on three pillars — the gaming tournament, the festival area where the players would interact, and the musical experiences. We delivered that and everything was great, especially the cosplay, where a lot of people were interested.
“It is not just about gaming but going beyond that and opening League of Legends and e-sports to all people in this region,” he said.
“This event has shown that a lot of people have embraced the opportunity of visiting and learning more about League of Legends.”
Tamer said that future plans include an Arabic version of League of Legends.
“People want us to create a specific Arabic character, but it really depends on the creativity and bringing everything together to make it happen,” he said.