Iraq prepares for national maritime strategy

A five-day needs assessment mission to the cities of Baghdad and Basra has taken place (12-16 March) as part of preparations for the drafting of an overall national maritime strategy for Iraq.

The visits were designed to support Iraq by identifying  challenges facing the country’s maritime sector regarding the compliance, adoption and implementation of international conventions, agreements, instruments and codes. The mission also reviewed the structure of the maritime sector there and the linkages between different stakeholders within it.

The first part of the mission in Baghdad involved meetings with the Deputy Minister for administrative affairs in the Ministry of Transport, Dr. Hazim Radhi Alhifathi, the Minister’s advisor for conventions/maritime affairs, and managers of international partner organizations. 

In the port city of Basra in-depth discussions were held with senior officials from the port including the General Managers of both the General Company for Ports of Iraq and the State Company for Maritime Transport. 

Another key element of the Basra trip was a visit to the Arabian Gulf Academy for Maritime Studies.  Discussions were attended by several maritime stakeholders including the coast guards, border force and the navy. 

Other elements of the visit included a presentation outlining the institution’s academic programme and activities along with a tour of its laboratory and simulator facilities. There was also a trip to see the local river taxi service, an example of the advancement of local systems used to transport thousands of passengers around the city, for example during international sporting events.

During the mission, IMO was invited to make a future visit to the ports of Um Qasr and Al-Faw in southern Iraq following completion of an important part of its first phase of development: one of two wave breakers at the port. The wave breaker on its western side is the longest in the world.  

The mission was undertaken by Dr. Salah Selima, IMO consultant, and Mr. Ahmed Kirkukli Zada who facilitated the trip on behalf of the Subdivision for Maritime Development, Technical Cooperation Division. The Maritime Attaché from the Iraq embassy in London, Capt. Mazin Salman, also travelled with the IMO delegation along with the Iraqi Transport Minister’s advisor. 

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