Growing unrest in Bahrain affecting port operations

 16 Mar 2011 10.01am

  • Bahrain unrest causes country's port operations to slow

  • All three ports remain open

The continued unrest in the island nation of Bahrain has caused operations at the country's ports to slow considerably in the past few days.

All three major ports remain open in the country, which is a major exporter of high grade oil products to Europe and northern Asia.

"All the ports are open: Sitra, Mina Sulman and Hidd," a shipping source told Reuters. "But there are staff shortages because of the protests, that's why cargo unloading is very slow," the source added.

AP Moller Maersk, who operate a shipping container and general cargo terminal in Bahrian, have noted considerable disruptions at its facility.

"We have faced some issues with staff shortages, which have had some impact on operations, but vessels continue to call and we continue to work them, the port though is open as usual", a spokesman for its APM Terminals-operated facility  told Arabian Business.

The Bahrain Petroleum Co refinery has been partially closed for maintenance, but the country was still exporting significant volumes of products from the 267,000 barrel per day (bpd) state-run facility, according to Reuters.

"Shipments have been running normally and there is no interruption of service. The refinery is undergoing a partial shutdown, but that was planned well in advance and stocks were built up for it," a Bahrain-based oil trader told Reuters.

Bahrain declared martial law on Tuesday in an attempt to bring order back to the country, with authorities looking to end weeks of protests by its Shi'ite Muslim majority.

  Port Planning