Foreign yacht owners receiving entry licenses in 30 minutes to cross into Saudi waters

The service was provided to all foreign tourist yacht owners outside Saudi Arabia, shipping agents and tourist agents. (SPA file photo)
The service was provided to all foreign tourist yacht owners outside Saudi Arabia, shipping agents and tourist agents. (SPA file photo)
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Updated 12 July 2021

Foreign yacht owners receiving entry licenses in 30 minutes to cross into Saudi waters

The service was provided to all foreign tourist yacht owners outside Saudi Arabia, shipping agents and tourist agents. (SPA file photo)
  • License requests were made through the toll-free number 1980 from inside Saudi Arabia and through 009661980 from abroad

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s military and civil servants are working 24 hours a day at Jeddah’s Red Sea Operations Center to provide tourist yachts with entry licenses in half an hour.
The multi-agency center assists foreign yacht owners, and their local agents, in Arabic and English to receive licenses to cross into Saudi waters in support of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan to reinforce tourism through facilitating entry to the country for marine activity purposes.
The center is run by the Saudi Border Guards alongside government bodies such as the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Tourism, the General Directorate of Passports, the Transport General Authority, the Saudi Ports Authority, and the Public Investment Fund.

“Launching this center comes in implementation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s directives to set up a department for marine activities to reinforce tourism and support achieving the Saudi Vision 2030,” center manager Commander Hasan Al-Asmari told Arab News.




Keeping physical distance, military and civil servants work jointly at the center to provide entry licenses to tourist yachts. (AN photo)

“Any request should include the yacht’s registration, its classification, and its marine radio certification. A list of the names of the onboard staff, safety and insurance certificates are also necessary for applying for a license. In 30 minutes, we reply to the request via email with the license approved.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• The Red Sea Operations Center is run by the Saudi Border Guards alongside government bodies such as the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Tourism, the General Directorate of Passports, the Transport General Authority, the Saudi Ports Authority, and the Public Investment Fund.

• License requests were made through the toll-free number 1980 from inside the Kingdom and through 009661980 from abroad. They were also sent by email.

• Since the center was launched, almost 30 licenses had been issued for foreign yachts to enter the Kingdom and sail in its waters.

License requests were made through the toll-free number 1980 from inside the Kingdom and through 009661980 from abroad. They were also sent by email at [email protected]




Commander Hasan Ali Al-Asmari speaking to Arab News. (AN photo)

The service was provided to all foreign tourist yacht owners outside the Kingdom, shipping agents and tourist agents, he said.
He said Interior Minister Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif had ordered the establishment of the center.




Cap. Engineer Omar Al-Abidi reviewing a license request. (AN photo)

“In full cooperation and coordination with representatives from different entities, we issue licenses for visiting islands and beaches, as well as permits for practicing various water activities.”
He added that, since the center was launched, almost 30 licenses had been issued for foreign yachts to enter the Kingdom and sail in its waters. The center has also received more than 83 sailing-related requests for these yachts.


Saudi Arabia to give COVID-19 booster shots to people aged 60 and over

Saudi Arabia to give COVID-19 booster shots to people aged 60 and over
Updated 26 September 2021

Saudi Arabia to give COVID-19 booster shots to people aged 60 and over

Saudi Arabia to give COVID-19 booster shots to people aged 60 and over
  • The Kingdom registers 5 COVID-19 deaths, 44 new cases and 58 recoveries in past 24 hours
  • Ministry of Interior records 19,870 violations against precautionary measures in past week

JEDDAH: People aged 60 and over will get a third COVID-19 vaccine dose to boost their immunity against the virus, Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry announced Sunday.
“We are currently preparing to include older adults in the booster dose plan, which will be provided after they complete eight months since they received their second dose of the vaccine,” ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly told a press briefing.
The ministry previously said it had started giving booster shots to high-risk individuals, including those with chronic kidney failure and people with organ transplants.
Over 41 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign started. Nearly 18.3 million people have been fully vaccinated.
People aged 60 and over will get a third COVID-19 vaccine dose to boost their immunity against the virus, Saudi Arabia’s Health Ministry announced Sunday.
“We are currently preparing to include older adults in the booster dose plan, which will be provided after they complete eight months since they received their second dose of the vaccine,” ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly told a press briefing.
The ministry previously said it had started giving booster shots to high-risk individuals, including those with chronic kidney failure and people with organ transplants.
Over 41 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered since the Kingdom’s immunization campaign started. Nearly 18.3 million people have been fully vaccinated.
“We urge everyone to complete both doses at the earliest,” said the spokesman. “Vaccination is the most important factor that will help us through the coming phase in confronting the pandemic which is, hopefully, the final stage with the virus.”
Saudi Arabia confirmed five new COVID-19 related deaths on Sunday, raising the total number of fatalities to 8,699.


The Ministry of Health confirmed 44 new cases reported in the Kingdom in the previous 24 hours, meaning 546,926 people have now contracted the disease. Of the total number of cases, 244 remain in critical condition.
According to the ministry, the highest number of cases were recorded in the capital Riyadh with 11, followed by Jeddah with seven, Madinah recorded three, and Makkah and Najran confirmed two cases each.
The health ministry also announced that 58 patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 535,950.
Saudi authorities continued their monitoring campaigns to ensure compliance with the precautionary measures imposed to stem the spread of the disease.
They recorded 19,870 violations of the regulations in one week, according to recent statistics from the Ministry of Interior.
The statistics indicated that the region of Riyadh recorded the highest number with 8,682 violations, followed by the Eastern Province (2,007), Makkah (1,931), Madinah (1,852), Qassim (1,540), Jouf (1,130), Hail (1,021), Jazan (391), the Northern Borders (361), Baha (355), Tabuk (292), Asir (224), and Najran (84).
The ministry called on citizens and residents to abide by the preventive protocols and the instructions issued by authorities in this regard.
Saudi municipalities have also ramped up efforts to monitor compliance with health and safety measures.
The municipality of the Eastern Province carried out 9,253 inspection tours of commercial centers and facilities in one week, identifying 493 violations. 
Field teams closed 14 commercial outlets for breaching protocols.
The municipality of Hail also carried out 1,191 inspection tours of commercial centers and facilities in one day. The authorities closed 56 commercial outlets for breaching protocols.
Municipalities urged all commercial facilities to abide by regulations to ensure public safety and prevent the spread of the disease.
Officials have also called on the public to report any suspected health breaches by phoning the 940 call center number or contacting authorities through the Balady app.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Human Resources and Social Development Ministry said that 87,500 monitoring tours had been carried out across the public and private sectors during the past month to ensure compliance with COVID-19 measures.
There were 3,509 violations recorded, 1,948 against private sector institutions and 1,561 against people working in the private sector.
Ministry spokesperson Saad Al-Hammad said 3,784 reports of potential violations were received during the past month, adding that the ministry accepted reports through its app, hotline number 19911, and social media accounts.
Currently, 88 percent of public sector and 85 percent of private sector employees have received both vaccine doses.
“These numbers indicate an increased awareness among the public of the need for health safety in the community to confront the pandemic,” Al-Hammad said.


Digital infrastructure enabled Saudi Arabia to confront pandemic

Digital infrastructure enabled Saudi Arabia to confront pandemic
Updated 26 September 2021

Digital infrastructure enabled Saudi Arabia to confront pandemic

Digital infrastructure enabled Saudi Arabia to confront pandemic
  • Kingdom’s technological progress contributed to raising level of transparency, efficiency, says Saudi envoy to UN

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s strong digital infrastructure has enabled the public and private sectors to meet the devastating challenges of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Kingdom’s envoy to the UN has said.

“Guided by the national transformation program, the Kingdom’s technological progress has contributed to raising the level of transparency and digital efficiency,” said Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the UN.

Al-Mouallimi made these remarks during a high-level side event organized by the Digital Cooperation Organization under the theme “Shaping a Comprehensive Digital Age,” a recently established global organization working toward achieving “digital prosperity for all.”

The DCO works with governments, the private sector, international and nongovernmental organizations and civil society to push for an inclusive digital transformation and the growth of digital industries.

The DCO’s seven-member body includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Nigeria, Oman, and Pakistan. It accounts for a population of 480 million, 80 percent of which are under the age of 35. It said it is open to any new member that shares the same goals of “empowering youth, women, and entrepreneurs and leapfrogging the digital transformation.”  

In his remarks, Al-Mouallimi highlighted the Kingdom’s digital achievements and the efforts of the DCO during the pandemic. 

“They helped to make it possible to work remotely and adapt to the new conditions imposed by the pandemic,” said the ambassador, adding that the world is undergoing a shift towards digital transformation at a faster pace than ever before. 

“Digitization creates opportunities and challenges that go beyond borders, making digital collaboration an essential element in facilitating digital transformation at the international level, so that our digital future must be more inclusive and global efforts ensure that technology is available to all.”

Al-Mouallimi underlined that multilateral cooperation is necessary to meet digital challenges and opportunities. Countries must harness their full potential to integrate into the digital age, mainly dependent on global collaboration.

Al-Mouallimi said it is clear that the DCO emphasizes promoting digital cooperation to meet the current challenges.

“The core objectives of the DCO are about accelerating the growth of the digital economy, as well as promoting social prosperity to include all,” the envoy said, adding: “The organization also seeks to develop an ambitious model for promoting global digital efforts, making us, as members of the organization’s coordination office, forced to exert all efforts to reach our goals and objectives.”

He said that the Kingdom accelerated the growth of the digital economy in the region and around the world as a member of the DCO, stressing that the Kingdom will continue its commitment to maximizing digital capabilities at the national and international levels.

He added: “The Kingdom has put digitization at the forefront of the technological progress it seeks, and as a result, several outstanding achievements have enabled Saudi Arabia to make significant progress in global indicators, ranking first among the G20 countries in digital competitiveness according to the European Centre for Digital Competitiveness.”


Taste of history as Saudi turns old police station into heritage eatery

Taste of history as Saudi turns old police station into heritage eatery
Updated 26 September 2021

Taste of history as Saudi turns old police station into heritage eatery

Taste of history as Saudi turns old police station into heritage eatery
  • Abha restaurant draws visitors from around the Gulf with traditional southern flavors

ABHA: A young Saudi “jack of all trades” has used his creative talent and love of cooking to transform a former police station in Abha into a traditional restaurant.

Now Ibrahim bin Mansour Bashashah Al-Asiri’s Al-Hosn Al-Turathi — or Abha castle heritage restaurant — has become a landmark attraction, serving up traditional southern flavors to tourists visiting the historic southwest Saudi city.

Diners from around the Kingdom and Gulf states regularly visit the eatery for a taste of southern hospitality.

Al-Asiri, a plastic artist, and gift and flower designer, told Arab News that the restaurant was previously a coffeeshop owned by his brother.

“The building was originally the Asir police station. I did not favor strong additions and alterations that would erase the designs that characterize the building,” he said.

“My main objective was for the visitor to be able to sense the history of a place that is 40 or 50 years old.”

Being a jack of all trades, Al-Asiri decided to invest his talents and help preserve the city’s heritage by turning the coffeeshop into a restaurant.

He used his talent with lighting and art to transform the site into a heritage icon that takes diners back in time.

Initially, the restaurant served only breakfast, but the menu quickly expanded until meals became available throughout the day. 

Ibrahim bin Mansour Bashashah Al-Asiri, owner of Al-Hosn Al-Turathi. (Supplied)

One form of art found in the restaurant is Al-Qatt Al-Asiri, a traditionally female interior wall decoration and ancient art form considered a key element in Asir’s history.

Al-Hosn Al-Turathi restaurant relies on the work of two people — Al-Asiri, who cooks and oversees artistic tasks, and his brother, who handles management.

“There aren’t many restaurants that offer popular southern meals, especially in Abha, while there are many popular restaurants in Khamis Mushayt,” he said.

Menu favorites offered at Al-Hosn Al-Turathi include al-arika, a traditional dessert in the southern region made with brown flour mixed with warm water, oil and ghee to form a dough, and flavored with a drizzle of honey and cardamom.

The restaurant is the first to serve “miva” or southern “tannour” bread, Al-Asiri said, adding that he is the first Saudi in the Kingdom to cook while wearing a traditional Saudi outfit.

Al-Asiri also launched the Asiri bouquet, a collection of local plants with aromatic scents, gifting them to a number of princes and other high-profile personalities.

Al-Hosn Al-Turathi heritage restaurant supports local productive families. A coffee and hot beverages corner is managed by one of the sisters, Umm Joud, who holds a master’s in business management, and supervises the preparation of hot drinks using traditional ingredients.

Al-Asiri urged Saudi youth to work hard, saying Saudi Arabia offers many opportunities to realize the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. “We need to be patient and active, and try to reach the top with the capabilities that we have. So we need to be persistent and work hard,” he said.


Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Greece complete military exercises

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Greece complete military exercises
Updated 26 September 2021

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Greece complete military exercises

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, Greece complete military exercises
  • The drills are part of a program to enhance military cooperation between friendly countries

RIYADH: Special security forces of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Greece and Egypt completed joint drills in the Greek capital, Athens.

Taking part what was hailed as further cooperation between allied states were the Royal Saudi Land Forces paratroopers, Emirati Special Forces, the Egyptian Army’s El-Saa’ka (Thunderbolt) Forces and Paratroopers and the Greek Joint Special Operations Forces.

The drills are part of a program to enhance military cooperation between friendly countries, to exchange training and experience and to increase the level of combat readiness to confront challenges in the region.

The training plan was conducted by the Royal Saudi Land Forces to maintain a high level of performance, training and combat efficiency as part of the annual training programs that are implemented with friendly countries.

The drills were observed by the Greek Deputy Minister of Defense, the Chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff, the commanders of the Greek Ministry of Defense’s forces, the Saudi ambassador in the Republic of Greece, Saad bin Abdul Rahman Al-Ammar, and the Assistant Commander of Paratrooper Units and Special Security Forces Major General Sultan Islam.


Saudi FM meets Colombian, Qatari counterparts 

Saudi FM meets Colombian, Qatari counterparts 
Updated 26 September 2021

Saudi FM meets Colombian, Qatari counterparts 

Saudi FM meets Colombian, Qatari counterparts 

NEW YORK: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Saturday met Colombia’s Vice President and Foreign Minister Marta Lucía Ramírez on the sidelines of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

The meeting discussed relations between the two countries and the means to strengthen them to serve common interests. They also exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest.

The meeting was attended by the Saudi ambassador to the US, Princess Reema bint Bandar; the undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry for multilateral international affairs, Abdulrahman Al-Rassi; and the director general of the Saudi foreign minister’s office, Abdulrahman Al-Daoud.

In a separate meeting, Prince Faisal met Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani. They reviewed relations between the two countries and considered how to best promote them.