First Aids to Navigation course held in Middle East to enhance Gulf maritime safety


A first of its kind training course for the Middle East has been held to teach mariners about the basic concept of Aids to Navigation (AtoN) after a clear need was identified from potential clients.

Run by Middle East Navigation Services (MENAS) with co-operation with Bahrain Port Maritime Affairs PMA , the Level 3 course was a success, attracting 18 students from nine different entities: Bahrain Ports Maritime Affairs, Bahrain Coast Guard, Bahrain Fisheries, Bahrain Royal Navy, Bahrain Defense Force, Bahrain SLRB, Saudi Aramco, Abu Dhabi Ports Group and Fuhjairah Port. Participants included captains, coast guard personnel working on marine patrols and other personnel involved in marine safety of navigation and AtoN within the GCC region to enhance safety of navigation in Gulf waters and achieve the aspirations of International Maritime Organization safety of navigation.

Covering ‘Aids to Navigation, IALA MBS, Racon, AIS, DGPS & Maritime Safety Information (MSI)’, the L3 course was delivered by MENAS managers who are all certified by IALA (International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities) with the course reflecting the AtoN services in the region. It also serves as a ‘foundation’ model course for potential AtoN technicians enabling them to have a good chance of understanding and passing the formal L2.0 courses in future.

The course was held over two days from 8-9th November at the Gulf Hotel in the Kingdom of Bahrain with opening speeches from both Mr Mahdi Al Mosawi, General Manager, MENAS and the Acting Undersecretary of Ports & Maritime Affairs, Mr Bader Hood Al Mahmoud.

It included a session at MENAS’ headquarters, where candidates had a site visit at MENAS Yard covering the type of AtoN, light intensity room, Racon, MSI and AIS service.

“This was the first course of its kind to be held in the MENA region and it is a great step in enhancing maritime safety in the Gulf, which is one of the busiest trade lanes in the world,” said Mahdi Al Mosawi, General Manager of MENAS, a branch of the International Foundation for Aids to Navigation (IFAN). “We were delighted with the uptake and the feedback from candidates was all extremely positive, and they are all now looking forward to future courses.”

Following the success of the inaugural training course, MENAS now plans to run further courses Aids to Navigation Foundation (Level 3) and technicians/engineers (Level 2) by next year.