ABU DHABI, 9th June 2014 (WAM) -- The 2nd annual Naval Shipbuilding and Maintenance Summit Middle East 2014, has commenced in Abu Dhabi today.
The two-day summit, which is chaired by Rear Admiral Ahmed Al Sabab Al Teneiji, former Commander U.A.E. Naval Forces, brought together militaries and industry experts from over 14 countries to discuss latest developments and technologies in naval shipbuilding and its maintenance and to seek future cooperation with the U.A.E.
Rear Admiral Al Teneiji, in an exclusive interview with WAM, said, "making sure that you get the most out of a naval vessel is key to ensuring value for money and operational efficiencies."
"Building lifecycle management into new vessel acquisition is the key to future sustainability for naval operations. The Defence IQ summit is seeking to address in service support by methods of reducing downtime and maximising return on investment for navies," he said.
Al Teneiji said there are three ways for maintaining ships: preventative, periodical and mid-life maintenance.
"Efficient maintenance on a ship can help prolonged life of the vessel and keeps it running smoothly," he explained.
The former Chief of the U.A.E. Navy also said that the U.A.E. has always cared about the shipbuilding industry.
"Abu Dhabi ship building company was built to enhance U.A.E. s involvement in the industry and it constructs all types of ships, from small to corporate-size boats," he said.
Another Abu Dhabi-based company, Etihad Ship Building, ESB, a joint venture between Italian company Fincantieri and local company Al Fattan Ship Industry was also created in 2010 to build vessels, offer maintenance and retrofitting services to navies in the region. The partnership reflects the Government's increased focus on its offsets system, which directs foreign defence suppliers to contribute to the U.A.E., particularly in transferring technology into the local economy.
Al Teneiji said that these companies in the U.A.E have gained a good reputation for shipbuilding and maintenance in the Arab region which allowed countries in the region to trust its reputation and turn to the U.A.E. for its services in the industry.
Last year, ESB delivered two Falaj-class stealth offshore patrol vessels and an Abu Dhabi-class stealth corvette to the U.A.E. Navy, said Al Teneiji. The company also signed a contract with the Iraqi Navy as well for the maintenance of four patrol vessels at ESB. Through partnerships with international players, the U.A.E. has been able to construct some of the world s most advanced ships, with the marquee product being the Baynunah-class corvette.
Speaking to WAM, Captain Glen S. Leverette Jr, Head Engineer for the U.S. military said that the U.A.E. is a very important player in shipbuilding in the region and said that he hopes that the conference he will help him increase ties with U.A.E. companies.
"I ve been to the Etihad company shipyard and I was impressed by what I saw. The facilities were well planned-out and they had a positive leadership which I hope to visit again to discuss possible future collaborations," he said.
Talking about his other experiences with other U.A.E. companies, Mr. Leverette said: "Based on the quality of work, excellent technicians and engineers who start on time and end of time and its world-class facilities, The U.A.E. has one of the best dry docks in the region."
This year s summit, which has attracted more international navies, such as the Cambodian keynote Speaker Rear Admiral Tea Sokha, Deputy Commander of the Royal Cambodian Navy, will run until tomorrow, Tuesday 10th June, 2014.