The Middle East Navigation Aids Service (MENAS) has taken a huge step forward in its effort to ensure ship owners are able to pay for navigational aids provision in the Middle East Gulf, by signing a cooperation agreement with Inchcape Shipping Services that will contract the ship agency company to collect navigation aids dues from the ships it looks after in the waterway.
The agreement, covering all Inchcape offices in the Middle East, is the first one in a series to formalise and standardise the collection of nav dues processes and accountabilities across all ship agencies working with MENAS on the collection of nav dues.
Operating from its main base in Bahrain and a support base in Abu Dhabi, The Middle East Navigation Aids Service (MENAS), a subsidiary of the International Foundation for Aids to Navigation (IFAN), owns and maintains an extensive network of 58 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. Most of these Aids to Navigation (AtoNs) are classified as Category 1 (Vital), according to International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) principles. MENAS also owns four DGPS transmitters providing essential positioning information and also broadcasts on VHF giving advice such as the issuance of Notices to Mariners, advising on hazards to shipping and co-ordinating additions to navigation charts for the Gulf. Over 2,000 vessels rely upon MENAS equipment and services each month.
Peter Stanley, CEO of MENAS and IFAN, welcomed the agency agreement as the first step in ensuring that owners honour their responsibilities when it comes to paying for safe navigation in the Middle East Gulf. This agreement provides them with a simple and effective means of paying Nav Dues, he stressed.
He said: “This formal agreement with Inchcape Shipping Services now means that we have a clear understanding of the standards that are expected over collections and certificates issued to shipowners.
“Both companies support the safe navigation in all the world’s trade lanes, not least in the Middle East Gulf, and owners must step up to the mark and do their bit by paying the necessary nav dues. We remain committed to ensuring navigational aids in the region are properly maintained and modernised, but this takes significant investment,” Mr Stanley added.
Errol Seaman, Inchcape Shipping Services, Area General Manager for the Southern Gulf, praised the work of MENAS in helping to ensure safe navigation in the Gulf. He said: “Light dues and navigational aids are a very important element in our business and for the shipping industry in general. Without them, global trade would struggle. This agreement reflects the tremendous effort by MENAS in ensuring navigational aids in the region are well maintained.”
Capt Atul Shukla, Inchcape Shipping Services, Cluster Manager for the Southern Gulf, Marine Survey and Inspection Division, added: “Inchcape and MENAS have a long history of successfully working together and we welcome this service agreement, as it enforces our joint commitment to safe navigation in the area. Inchcape is and has always been a strong supporter of safe navigation and is committed to contributing to making our oceans safer. We are delighted to be able to dedicate our resources in this way to assist MENAS in its excellent work.”
MENAS has previously warned of the need to upgrade or replace the navigational aids as they near the end of their life expectancy. Plans for investments are being drawn up to renew the four DGPS transmitters so that they continue to deliver quality navigational signals in the Gulf region.