In line with its bid to take on a leading role in international shipping, Bahrain has become the first Arab state to tap into a global ship-tracking system that uses GPS and other supporting navigation technologies.
The system will allow Bahrain to bolster its coastal security and maritime rescue operations.
It will also be able to better track its own growing fleet of vessels round the globe, within an estimated 1,000 miles of its coastal frontiers.
Implementation of the Long Range Identification and Tracking of ships system was deemed obligatory by the International Maritime Organization, of which Bahrain is a member.
Its implementation was completed by the General Organization of Ports well in advance of the late September deadline, local media reported.
“The L.R.I.T. is designed to collect and disseminate vessel position information received from I.M.O. member states ships that are subject to the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea,” the U.S Coast Guard said of the system.
It says it uses the system extensively along with international data exchange with I.M.O. members to monitor ships — regardless of their nationality — that are 300 gross tons or greater on international voyages, improving maritime awareness.
Allowing for rapid access of information, the L.R.I.T. system will also afford Bahrain an edge in quickly pinpointing and reaching ships in distress in its waters. Ships within proximity of vessels in distress can also be given instant information on shipping in the region to allow for swifter assistance.
The system entitles I.M.O. member governments to receive reports on identification and position of ships registered to their ship wherever located.
Bahrain will also be able to “receive the same information about ships that have declared their intention to enter a port in a member states’ territory; ships passing within 1,000 miles of the coastline of a member state’s territory and ships in an area where a search and rescue operation is under way,” Trade Arabia reported.
The collected information will be processed through an L.R.I.T. data center, revised under recent regulations by the I.M.O. to shield against increased maritime piracy.
According to the Al Bawaba Web site, a “specialized U.K. company” will be responsible for running Bahrain’s National Data Center. It did not, however, elaborate.
Bahrain is the first Arab state to apply the system networking more than 60 countries worldwide including the United States.
“As the first Arab country to implement the L.R.I.T. system, Bahrain’s move demonstrates the GOP’s commitment to continue abiding by all existing international regulations and new requirements in order to ensure safe, secure and clean waters around the Kingdom,” Hassan Ali Al Majed, G.O.P. director, was quoted saying in a report by Al Bawaba.