Cruising to Bahrain
Bahrain's small size and central location among Persian Gulf countries require it to play a delicate balancing act in foreign affairs among its larger neighbors. Facing declining oil reserves, Bahrain has turned to petroleum processing and refining and has transformed itself into an international banking center. Sheikh HAMAD bin Isa Al Khalifa, who came to power in 1999, has pushed economic and political reforms and has worked to improve relations with the Shi'a community.
In February 2001, Bahraini voters approved a referendum on the National Action Charter - the centerpiece of Sheikh HAMAD's political liberalization program. In February 2002, Sheikh HAMAD pronounced Bahrain a constitutional monarchy and changed his status from amir to king. In October 2002, Bahrainis elected members of the lower house of Bahrain's reconstituted bicameral legislature, the National Assembly.
Location: Middle East, archipelago in the Persian Gulf, east of Saudi
Territorial sea: 12 nm
Arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers
Mostly low desert plain rising gently to low central escarpment
Lowest point: Persian Gulf 0 m
Petroleum production and refining account for about 60% of Bahrain's export receipts, 60% of government revenues, and 30% of GDP. With its highly developed communication and transport facilities, Bahrain is home to numerous multinational firms with business in the Gulf. A large share of exports consists of petroleum products made from refining imported crude.
Construction proceeds on several major industrial projects. Unemployment, especially among the young, and the depletion of oil and underground water resources are major long-term economic problems. In 2005 Bahrain and the US ratified a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the first FTA between the US and a Gulf state.
Airports: 3 (2005)
Total: 8 ships (1000 GRT or over) 235,449 GRT/339,728 DWT
Sailing Specifics: Ports and terminals
Mina' Salman, Sitrah
Other Sailing Destinations in the Region
Bahrain - Christmas Islands - Cocos Keeling - Comoros - Djibouti - Eritrea - India - Jordan - Kenya - Kuwait - Madagascar - Maldives - Mauritius - Mayotte - Mozambique - Oman - Pakistan - Qatar - Reunion Island - Saudi Arabia - Seychelles - Somalia - Sri Lanka - Sudan - Tanzania - United Arab Emirates - Yemen