LONDON (Rahnuma): 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.