Saudi authorities issued new regulations for maritime transportation and handling of nuclear and radioactive materials to, from, and through Saudi Arabia, according to official sources.
The authorities informed all port managers, maritime agents, and operating companies of the new measures calling on the representatives of the private sector operating in Saudi ports to adhere to the new requirements issued by the Nuclear and Radiological Regulatory Commission (NRRC).
Saudi Port Authority (Mawani) announced that any company importing, exporting, or transiting nuclear and radioactive materials through the Kingdom must obtain a license from competent authorities.
The Authority asserted that the Commission must be notified regarding the innocent passage of ships carrying nuclear and radioactive materials and their belongings.
The agent must ensure that the sender and the consignee have prior authorization if the ship is carrying a cargo of this kind.
The Authority banned the import, export, and transit of radioactive waste across the Kingdom’s territorial sea. It also indicated that shipments containing spent fuel must obtain a license and written notice two weeks ahead of the shipping date.
The new requirements also prevent ships from carrying plutonium unless it is part of a medical device, with specific requirements.
If the ship's interior is contaminated with radioactive materials in ports, harbors, or the territorial waters of the Kingdom, it must be removed by an authorized authority, before the ship returns to service.
The Authority stressed that if a ship transporting nuclear materials was involved in an accident, it should issue a detailed report on the measures taken. Also, the flag state bears full responsibility for any accident per the Kingdom's maritime law and the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The Ports Authority, in cooperation with the Saudi Customs, recently adopted a new mechanism for handling merchandise and containers of abandoned goods and containers in the ports that exceed its statutory period.
The Authority indicated that this procedure increases the speed of the container turnover rate for shipping lines and ensures the optimal use of the ports' capacity.
It emphasized that this decision aims to define the roles and responsibilities of the concerned authorities within the port on handling abandoned goods.