Military


Mina Sulman

The governmentof Bahrain and the U.S. Navy hosted aground breaking ceremony at Mina Salman Port on May 26, 2010, marking the beginning of a military construction project that will develop 70 acres on the waterfront to support U.S. and coalition ships and personnel. Port operations currently being conducted at Mina Salman will relocate to this location. NSA Bahrain continues to grow to better support ongoing operations around the region. This expansion project will not only enhance the ability to support tenant commands and their mission, whether that be logistics, aviation, theatre security, or surface operational support, but also provide the necessary infrastructure to support service members and their families, including our civilian and contract employees.

The $580 million project is scheduledto be completed in 2015, and will include utilities infrastructure, a consolidated port operations and harbor patrol facility, personnel barracks, administrative buildings, dining facility and a flyover bridge connecting Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain to the new port facilities. The investment in the waterfront construction project will provide a better quality of life for Sailors and coalition partners, well into the future. This project signifies a continuing relationship and the trust, friendship and camaraderie that exists between the U.S.and Bahraini naval forces. The ultimate goal of relocating portoperations and development at Mina Salman is to provide better support to U.S. and coalition ships deployed here and operating in the region. The work at Mina Salman is being overseen by Naval Facilities Engineering Command Europe Africa SouthwestAsia, headquartered in Naples, Italy. The executing agent is the U.S. Army Corpsof Engineers.

In Bahrain, ships tie up at pierside at Mina Sulman [Mina Salman]. Larger ships anchor out and Sailors must take a short liberty launch or water taxi ride to the pier. While in port in the area, Sailors are required to act and dress conservatively while enjoying the culture and hospitality of their Arab hosts. Mina Sulman is one of the major ports in the Middle East opened in 1980, which now has the only container terminal in the Middle East entirely operated by the local workforce. Mina Sulman is essentially an import/export port as far as container traffic is concerned. Bahrain port incorporates all the harbors on the NE coast of the Bahrain Islands; the port limits extending approximately westwards and southwards from Bahrain Approach Buoy.

The BANZ Warehouse Freight Terminal in Juffair is the primary shipping and receiving location for cargo and CASREP parts destined for COMFIFTHFLT units. The Terminal is owned and operated by the BANZ - Bahrain National Cold Storage & Warehousing Company WLL (c) which was originally formed by the BAhrain and New Zealand governments (BANZ). Now a privately owned Bahraini company, it maintains close ties with the US Navy stationing at Naval Support Activity, Bahrain.

The BANZ Warehouse builds over 2,000 pallets of cargo per year. It processes over 50 tons of cargo through Remote Consolidated Aerial Port System (RCAPS) for in/outbound and ocean cargo per year. The facility processes all Hazardous Material (HAZMAT) for outbound ship, and in-checks and processes all incoming cargo received via AMC flights and commercial carriers. The facility, which delivers cargo and picks up retrograde material for all visiting ships, consists of 8 military, 7 TCN civilians and 1 DoD civilian.

Bahrain's strategic position-roughly in the center of the Gulf- has ensured a sea trading history which is traceable back some 3,000 years. In the times of Ur in 2000 BC, the islands of Bahrain were the only haven where fresh water and shelter could be found on the long voyage between Mesopotamia and India. The first modern port in Bahrain's long history was built in 1930s on the northern side of the island at Mina Manama. Here vessels drawing up to four meters could be accommodated and later wharves reaching depths of 9m to 13m were built to the north east of Sitra Island for the refinery and more recently for Alba (Aluminum plant). The original jetty is now used only by fishing dhows and with the construction of Mina Salman and mainly used for coastal Gulf traffic.

The first approach channel to Mina Salman was started in 1954 and construction contracts for the original pier placed in 1956. Named after the present Amir's Grand Father, Shaikh Salman Bin Hamed Al Khalifa. Mina Salman began its major expansion in 1962 with the opening of the first deep water wharf which allowed berthage for six vessels. In the two years up to 1976, tonnage throughput again increased ty a further 100 per cent and by 1977 the port was handling two million tons of imported cargo. To upkeep this enhanced situation, Bahrain Government then put into action a US$170 million Port Development Program. The Plan, completed in 1979, laid special emphasis on the need to employ the latest technology in handing modern sea transport, especially containerised cargo.

Surface Operations, located at the Mina Sulman pier, coordinates ship and submarine logistic support for the entire Fifth Fleet area. Responsible for making everything run smoothly for a pier which is regarded as the second busiest Navy port outside the continental United States. During 1999 surface operations, personnel coordinated a total of 329 port visits and facilitated the arrival of some 255,168 Sailors and Marines. Port visits consisted of a record 59 replenishment ships, 58 destroyers, 56 special mission vessels, 46 mine counter measure units, 36 frigates, 16 cruisers, 19 submarines, 11 patrol craft, 15 LPD/LSDs, 7 LHA/LHDs and 6 CV/CVNs.

NSA Surface Operations must be notified as soon as possible upon schedule changes in order to minimize scheduling difficulties between port authorities and operational units. Bahrain, as well as every other port in the AOR, is a commercial seaport and every consideration regarding pier spaces, pilots, tugs, and underway times must be made with merchant traffic in mind. Small boat operations:permission must be requested through NSA Surface Operations 24 hours in advance to allow for port approval. This includes placing the boat in the water on the way into port. Diving/sonar operations permission must be requested through NSA Surface Operations 24 hours in advance to allow for port approval. Turns next to the pier must be requested through NSA Surface Operations 24 hours in advance to allow for port approval. Flights will not be allowed from the pier. Standard flight requirements must be followed from anchorage.

Afloat CO's are authorized to grant overnight liberty on a case by case basis. Personnel authorized overnight liberty must abide by the established curfew hours, and must be inside an established residence or hotel room at the time of the designated curfew and remain there until at least 0400.

Extra care must be taken regarding personal conduct ashore. Public intoxication is a crime in Bahrain and any signs of intoxication are frowned upon. Foul language and obscene gestures are extremely offensive to the local population. Local religious customs, such as the call to prayer, and places of worship must be given the utmost respect. Exercise common sense, maintain situational awareness and use the "Buddy system." All personnel should be aware of their surroundings. Avoid large crowds and gatherings. Be cooperative with the local police officials and report all incidents and unusual events to Naval Security Force Bahrain. Avoid confrontations with local nationals. The best course of action is to avoid the situation or simply walk away.

Photography of diplomatic buildings is prohibited. Photography within the port facility is not authorized. Photography on board NSA is limited to the patio area located at the Desert Dome. Security Force personnel will confiscate the film of any person violating this regulation.

Uniforms are not authorized off base. Onboard NSA, shorts and t-shirts are authorized and standard Navy guidelines are applicable. Tank tops are not authorized for liberty unless directly engaged in PT. Earrings, for males, are not authorized in Bahrain and nose/lip/tongue rings are not authorized for either gender. US Personnel will not wear traditional Arab attire (thobe & gutra).




NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list