For over 100 years, Middle East Navigation Aids Service (MENAS) has played a major role in the safety of shipping and in the development of Aids to Navigation infrastructure throughout the Middle East Gulf waters. Formerly named the Persian Gulf Lighting Service, it was established to be the responsible authority for Aids to Navigation in the region.
It is currently the Middle East Gulf region’s leading innovator in the development, fabrication, supply and maintenance of Aids to Navigation (AtoN). Operating from its main base in Bahrain and a support base in Abu Dhabi, MENAS owns and maintains an extensive network of buoys, lighthouses, racons, AIS and DGPS sites. It also provides essential information and advice such as the issuance of Notices to Mariners (NTM), and broadcasts Navigation warning (NAVTEX) and weather forecasts via Bahrain Radio, advising on hazards to shipping and additions to navigation charts for the Middle East Gulf. Over 2,000 vessels rely upon MENAS equipment and services each month.
MENAS is the Middle East Gulf operations division of the London-based ‘International Foundation for Aids to Navigation’ (IFAN), and is the only independent Aids to Navigation authority in the world, with no country affiliation or national sponsor. It operates an ISO 9001:2015 quality-assured service, certified by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance and is an associate member of International Association of Lighthouse Authorities (IALA). It is also a corporate member of the International Marine Contractor Association (IMCA) and maintains active links with various other organisations and hydrographic offices worldwide.
The aids to navigation services provided by MENAS are financed by the payment of Nav Dues (or Light Dues) by vessels making trading voyages into the Middle East Gulf. The present tariff is US$1.65 per 100NT capped to a maximum of 40,000 NT per trading voyage into the Middle East Gulf, (maximum bill per voyage is US$660) normally paid at the first port where cargo is taken on or discharged.
It is a single regional charge for a regional service. Vessels of less than 15,000 NT have been exempt from MENAS Nav Dues since July 2006. All dues collected are exclusively utilised to cover operating costs and to improve the aids to navigation service in the Middle East Gulf region.
It is MENAS policy to comply where appropriate with the recommendations and guidelines issued by the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA). MENAS is fully committed to implementing the principle set out in SOLAS Chapter V Regulation 13 of providing, either alone or with others, ‘such aids to navigation as the volume of traffic and the degree of risk requires’ in its historic operational areas. Additionally, MENAS is actively involved in international standards setting for Nav Aids, through participation in conferences and workshops, and in research and development contributions to best practice in equipment and processes.
Short Range Visual AtoN. - The marine lanterns, Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) and radar beacons (Racons) fitted to all IALA Category 1 MENAS AtoN will be available to the Mariner for at least 998 days in any 1000 day period. Category 2 and Category 3 AtoN will be available to the mariner for 990 and 970 days respectively in any 1000 day period.
DGPS Service - The MENAS DGPS service will be available to the Mariner for at least 728.5 days in any 730 day period. MENAS DGPS will provide a positional accuracy of less than one metre throughout the coverage area of the beacon system. This will be maintained by integrity checks on transmitted data, system operation and broadcast quality in near real-time (less than 6 seconds).
Marine Safety Information (MSI) service - MENAS issues navigation warning NAVTEX within the framework of the Worldwide Navigation Warning System (WWNWS) jointly established by the International Maritime Organization and the International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO). This is referenced by the IMO resolution A.706 (17).
Health, Safety and the Environment
MENAS is committed to provide healthy and safe working conditions, and to maintain a safe and pollution-free operating practice that complies with international regulations and standards. The Company will take all necessary measures during its operations to minimise its impact on the marine environment. In particular it will:
- Ensure that its own vessels, or those contracted to conduct maintenance operations, follow regulations contained in MARPOL 73/78
- Remain aware and implement regulations contained in the Kuwait Region Convention for Cooperation on the Protection of the Marine Environment from Pollution where they apply to Particularly Sensitive Sea Areas (PSSAs)
- Refrain from using noxious or harmful paint coatings on any of its buoys
- Dispose of all potentially hazardous waste in strict accordance with applicable national and international regulations
MENAS is a member of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) and is successfully audited annually in accordance with international Health & Safety standards.