Muscat: People in Oman looking to travel to other parts of the country will soon be provided more options with plans to introduce water taxi services.
Water taxis are part of the efforts by the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology (MTCIT) to expand and improve connectivity across the country--on land and along shores. The water taxi services will dovetail with the launching of a maritime services portal as well as relevant regulations.
Marine navigation system
Other areas of development planned by MTCIT in the field of marine transport include a marine navigation system initiative, which will include setting up specialised marine services companies that can generate employment; establishing areas where boats and other smaller watercraft can undergo repairs and maintenance and a supply network to provide fuel to boats.
The ministry will also float a ship registration project called “Al Nouman”, which aims to improve marine navigation and economic diversification. A key element of enabling safe and efficient navigation of the seas around the country is the Oman Maritime Law.
Other steps being taken are the issue of safe manning, training and seafarers’ certificates; fishing vehicle licences, a list of marine debris to ensure safety to sailors and their craft and the preparation of a manual for standard design for marine facilities in Oman.
Tie-ups with other nations
Oman also hopes to sign memoranda of understanding with other countries for the mutual recognition of civil certificates and is looking for closer maritime cooperation with Panama, the United Kingdom and Egypt.
A memorandum of understanding was also signed with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management of the Kingdom of the Netherlands on the mutual recognition of certificates of competence and eligibility for seafarers.
The country also plans to increase direct imports by container by at least five percent and boost revenues from land transport and maritime operations by 10 percent this year. In 2021, Oman issued 3,565 ship certificates, 207 marine navigation permits, 172 maritime certificates and related documents, 358 new ship registration documents, 1,581 renewal of ship registrations and 210 maritime activity permits.
The development and expansion of marine transport and logistics is part of the MTCITs integrated system of transport, communications and information technology to diversify the economy, encourage innovation and contribute to societal wellbeing.
An advanced infrastructure for transport, communications and IT that is safe and integrated with urban and economic development will also enable the country to respond to the requirements of the future, pursue sustainability and help realise Oman Vision 2040, which aims to establish a sustainable, diversified economy that provides good standards of living and job opportunities for all.