Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim, Commodore, Royal Saudi Navy (Retired)
During the past 10 years, the Saudi government initiated many mega projects to modernize the civic infrastructure. Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah personally launched many development projects in various spheres of life like new hospitals, highways, universities, railroad tracks, sports stadiums, oil and gas projects etc.
At a time when many of the neighboring countries are rocked by economic uncertainties and facing unrest and instability, Saudi Arabia continues to prosper and the authorities are continuously introducing various social and economic reforms for the benefit of the country and the people.
However, the delays in the completion of several projects and the quality of the end product irks many a Saudi. Various uplift projects are behind schedule and those completed after inordinate delays lack the quality we used to witness during the country’s early phases of development boom. Many people wonder why the projects in the past were finished on time and were of better quality. With advent of new technologies, this is a very valid question and presents a disturbing scenario.
Unlike many countries, there is no dearth of funds for those projects. Had there been any fund-related issue, these delays or lack of quality would have been understood. This situation reminds many Saudis of the first wave of South Koreans entering the Kingdom to work on various development projects. We have pleasant memories of the highly disciplined and hardworking South Korean work force. People in Riyadh still remember the so-called temporary overpasses to ease Riyadh congestions, which were built in a rush because of the dire need to regulate traffic.
Interestingly, those bridges are still in a much better shape than those constructed later and at higher budgets. Saudis still remember the South Koreans who came during the 1970s at a time when their country was amid economic and political uncertainties and many of the workers were very poor and simply needed work to support their families back home.
Many of them left the Kingdom not only with more money in their pockets but also with great experience they had gained while working on various uplift projects using then latest technology. The industrial city in Jubail and many other similar projects in parts of the Kingdom are testimony to their hard work.
South Korea has emerged as one of the most advanced industrial countries with the most skilled work force in the world. Just a few days ago a high-profile Saudi delegation visited South Korea and some Saudi papers reported that the Saudis wanted the South Koreans to come back to the Kingdom and help push building the unfinished projects. It is true that there are South Koreans in the Kingdom but apparently we are going to see more of them. Now, however, the South Korean work force is not as cheap as it used to be because of their skills and work ethics. Despite this factor, it is very important to bring skilled South Korean work force and expose the young Saudis to the work habits of the South Koreans because sooner or later, they will leave again and we should benefit from their ways of doing things. This is why it is all the more important for Saudi and foreign companies working on mega projects in the Kingdom to hire young Saudis and have them work side-by-side with the South Koreans. The current economic boom is guaranteed to last and we have to take advantage of every asset we have. There is a lot to learn from South Korea, which lacked many natural resources and assets but succeeded in beating all the odds and emerged as an economic miracle.
Written by Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim. S. Koreans are Coming to Town reprinted with permission of Arab News and Abdulateef Al‐Mulhim.
Saudi Aramco had a strong presence at the recent 19th annual Dammam Charity Run, which saw more than 10,000 runners between the ages of 15 and 60 years participate in a 5-kilometer run through the Corniche area.
As a platinum sponsor for the event that emphasized health and fitness, Saudi Aramco assisted with virtually every aspect of the fun run, providing more than 150 volunteers, and contributed prizes for the various age groups. This year’s event motto was “Respect for Public Property.”
Participation was diverse with people of different nationalities taking part in the charity run. The event included an initial race for people with special needs, followed by the second wave of runners.
One of the many Aramcons who completed the 5-kilometer run was Khalid A. Al-Falih, Saudi Aramco’s president and CEO. After the race, he thanked the organizers and volunteers for their efforts in ensuring the success of the event and urged all participants to continue the journey to living a healthy lifestyle.
Company volunteers helped with registration, provided on course support and also spread health awareness messages, stressing the importance of exercise and environmental awareness. Saudi Aramco also played a prominent logistics role in the event, providing buses to transport participants from assembly points to the race site and back.
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Darlington’s girls placed three runners in the top 10 to grab a third-place team finish, and Model’s girls used a solid run from a freshman to help them finish eighth overall at the Class AA State Meet on Saturday afternoon.
The pre-meet hype about Darlington’s Ward possibly winning a state title and the Tigers competing for a team title proved true as both Ward and the Tigers were in the thick of the state title race.
Ward led the Tigers’ attack and shadowed eventual state champion Serena Tripodi for almost two miles before dropping back a few seconds.
“I tried to stay with her as much as possible to see how far I could go with her,” Ward said. “She had a good race. Since she was up ahead of me, I just decided to just go for it and try the best I can.”
Ward, who finished ninth last year in Class A, powered through the final mile and crossed the finish line in second place overall.
Ward’s teammates, Lauren Hooper and Kinslee Clevenger who had each grabbed a top-10 state finish before, closed out their senior seasons with another one. Hooper finished seventh overall, while Clevenger finished ninth.
“I had to go out fast just to stay with Stephanie. It got hot though the race, and I was so tired that I fell back a little. I was hoping to keep my spot at third place, but as long as I got in the top 10 I was good with that,” Hooper said. “Kinslee had a great race. I was proud of her and everybody. Annaliese (Clevenger) ran junior varsity at region and she ran well today.”
At the midway point of the race, Darlington and Lovett were neck and neck and it looked as if the team race might come down to the final hill, but the Lions were able to move up enough to grab first.
Normally a team placing three runners in the top 10 of a state meet is enough to capture the overall title, but Lovett placed four runners in the top 10 and Wesleyan mounted a spirited charge from runner four through seven, edging Darlington by one point.
“They ran their hearts out. They really did their best, and that’s all I can ask of them. I’m super pleased with how they performed,” Darlington coach Katie Ellis said. “Lovett and Wesleyan had great races as well. It’s great to be in a classification that has such tough competition, and we look forward to competing against them again in track.”
Saudi Aramco has again played a key role in one of the world’s premier shipping and maritime events.
Seatrade Middle East Maritime (SMEM), held in Dubai, has established itself as a platform for launching new products over the course of 11 years. Part of Dubai Maritime Week, the event saw the participation of over 7,000 professionals and experts in the maritime and offshore industry representing ports and shipping companies from 67 countries.
SMEM 2014 was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan ibn Muhammad ibn Rashed Al-Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, at the Dubai International Exhibition Center. Saudi Aramco is a strategic partner of the event.
In an address given on behalf of Bader Ghouth, Saudi Aramco’s Marine Department manager, Fehr Khomais, acting Marine Planning, Programs and Support Services Unit supervisor, praised the forum’s efforts to provide a platform for ship operators, builders and owners to exchange creative ideas and new technological solutions.
Khomais also pointed out the Saudi Aramco’s current expansion in operations offshore such as Karan, Arabiyah and Hasbah will create new opportunities in the workboat sector.
Such developments will require a new generation of technologically developed ships to maintain reliable services, Khomais said.
Running parallel to the efforts to pursue the development of such new fields, Saudi Aramco will continue to provide the required services to the Company’s offshore oilfields in Safaniyah, Marjan, Zuluf, Abu Safah and Berri.
To address new challenges, Saudi Aramco started to utilize the services of 16 platform supply vessels (PSV’s), all equipped with a Class-2 dynamic positioning system (DP-II), in order to provide the optimal supply service to rigs and barges operating in the company’s offshore fields.
Khomais emphasized in his address that the new basic fleet requirements will consist of larger and more powerful docking tugs, self-propelled jack-up barges, offshore security patrol vessels, diving service vessels equipped with Class-II dynamic positioning systems, state of the art anchor handling vessels and large offshore maintenance and accommodation vessels.
Khomais concluded his address by saying that Saudi Arabia’s marine operations sector has promising capabilities to contribute to the diversification of the national economy and advance the Kingdom’s development.
The building of an integrated shipyard in Ras Al-Khair is expected to create a major opportunity to establish ship repair yards and support all phases of ship building and repair. In addition, Saudi Aramco’s offshore areas development and upgrade projects will lead to an increased demand for the recruitment and training of manpower specialized in this field, a challenge Saudi Aramco is addressing by utilizing the training courses provided by King Abdulaziz University’s Faculty of Marine Sciences.
The forum featured four sessions focusing on three topics. The first topic extended over the first and second sessions and addressed operational safety, efficiency and reliability; the second topic was Vessel Design and Growing Sophistication while the third was Environmental Conservation. Each session had two technical papers presented.