Posted on: 1 May 2020
The London-based body overseeing the installation and maintenance of aids to navigation in the important shipping lanes of the Middle East Gulf, has warned shipowners that they must pay their navigational dues if vessel safety in the region is to be assured.
The Middle East Navigation Aids Service (MENAS), which is a subsidiary of the City-based International Foundation for Aids to Navigation (IFAN), has been providing these services in the region since 1911.
This service is funded exclusively via navigational dues payments, and the sustainability of the existing service, on which the shipping industry depends, is totally dependent on receipt of this revenue.
But not all shipowners trading in the area are paying their way, something which has forced MENAS to take action.
Alan Marsh, newly-elected chairman of IFAN and ex-CEO of Braemar, said a modernisation programme had to be rolled out to extend the life of the Differential GPS system in the region and it was now more important than ever that shipowners ‘stood up to the plate’ and paid their way so these modernisations costs could be met.
“Most of the DGPS equipment is no longer manufactured so MENAS is relying on securing spare parts from countries that were decommissioning their systems because they were now turning to space-based augmented satellite communication instead. The Middle East Gulf has no option but to use DGPS because there is no space-based augmented satellite system over the region,” he said.
Mr Marsh said that IFAN together with MENAS was committed to providing world class navigational aids, including maritime safety broadcasts to seafarers, in the region.
But he stressed it was essential that users fully contributed to the running cost of these services provided by MENAS.
Peter Stanley, CEO of IFAN and a past senior Executive at BP, added: “MENAS will continue to provide services but sadly shipowners may not even know that these are provided by MENAS and some question the need to pay Nav Dues whilst transiting these highly important and congested waters.
“These Nav Dues are essential to ensuring MENAS can continue to provide Aids to Navigation in the region while there is no alternative service provider or navigational system delivering as accurate a service. All ships in the area share the benefit of these well-maintained nav aids,” he said.
MENAS is currently the Gulf region’s leading innovator in the development, fabrication, supply and maintenance of aids to navigation. Operating from its main base in Bahrain and a support base in Abu Dhabi, MENAS owns and maintains an extensive network of buoys, lighthouses and DGPS transmitters. It also provides essential information and 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.