Thursday, January 12, 2012

Maluku preparing for sail Banda 2010

Aftera successful Sail Bunaken 2009 in Manado, North Sulawesi, the Maritime Affairsand Fisheries Ministry will organize a similar international event in Banda,Central Maluku, next year.

To be called Sail Banda 2010, the event would be the brainchild of Maritime andFisheries Minister Freddy Numberi, Alex Retraubun, director general of coastalarea and small island affairs at the maritime and fisheries ministry, said.

"The Banda Islands are known worldwide for their historical significanceand undersea natural beauty, and therefore Maluku will host Sail Banda2010," Retraubun said in the eastern Indonesian city of Ambon recently.

Banda is known as the original and only source of the once precious spices,nutmeg and mace, trade commodities that had a significant impact on worlddevelopments in the 15th century.

Early European reports described the tropical Banda Islands as a jewel-likecluster surrounded by crystal waters and brilliant coral reefs, and the mostbeautiful cluster of islands in Maluku.

Banda is made up of eleven small volcanic islands namely
Neira, Gunung Api, Banda Besar, Rhun, Ai, Hatta, Karaka, Manukan, Nailaka,Syahrir and Batu Kapal.

Syahrir island or formerly known as Pisang Island, and Batu Kapal Island whichcombine well for a morning dive, a picnic on the beach, and an afternoon diveare just 20 minutes by boat from the hotels on the town of Banda Neira.

All those Banda islands offer stunning tropical scenery, a remarkable history,friendly villages, and some of the globe`s most pristine, biologically diversecorral reefs which are good for that international event later next year.

Therefore members of Sail Banda 2010 international committee from variousmaritime countries will soon arrive to survey three locations in Maluku forconsideration as the event`s venue.

Maluku provincial administration`s communication and information spokesman,Bakrie Lumbessy said in Ambon recently that the committee members would in thenear future survey three locations, namely Lucipara islands in the Banda Sea,Banda Islands, and a diving site in Southwest Maluku district.

"Soon the international committee of Sail Banda 2010 will visit Maluku tosurvey the three locations in the province," Lumbessy said.

He said the same committee had successfully organized the Sail Bunaken event in
North Sulawesi which was participated in by hundreds of sail boats and yachtsfrom various countries last August.

According to Lumbessy, all the three locations for the Sail Banda 2010 offerundersea panoramas featuring many coral reefs and ornamental fish.

"Especially for an undersea flag raising ceremony, it will be conducted inone of the outlying islands in Southwest Maluku district," Lumbessy saidreferring to Wetar, Kisar, Romang, or Maupora islands.

He said Sail Banda 2010 was scheduled to run from July 27 to August 28, 2010and to be participated in by hundreds of sail boats and yachts from variouscountries around the world.

The Banda Sea which is known to have the deepest basin in the world also hadareas abounding in colorful coral reefs and ornamental fish on which visitorscould feast their eyes.

Banda islands also had various cultural tourist spots and famous historic sitesthat had been named by UNESCO as one of the world`s cultural heritages.

The Maluku provincial administration`s information and communication office hadalso asked for the active role of the press in the province and all elements ofthe public to jointly make Sail Banda 2010 a success.

Meanwhile, the national shipping company PT Pelni is also ready to help makethe Sail Banda 2010 event a success by putting more ships into service on itsroute to the Banda Islands in Central Maluku, a spokesman said.

Bachtiar, head of PT Pelni`s Ambon branch office, said in Ambon that thenational shipping company felt it bore the moral responsibility to support theinternational maritime event in Banda.

"The exact date of Sail Banda 2010 has actually yet to be confirmed but weat PT Pelni are ready to help make the event a success," Bachtiar said.

He said the company was currently operating MV Ciremai and MV Kelimutu on itsroute to Banda in Central Maluku, Tual in Southeast Maluku, and a number ofports in West Papua and Papua.

Asked if the number of ships for Banda would be increased in the runup to SailBanda 2010, Bachtiar said it was the responsibility of PT Pelni`s head officeto decide.

"But because Sail Banda 2010 is an international event, I think there willbe a good coordination between the transportation ministry and PT Pelni toincrease the number of ships sailing to Banda," Bachtiar said.

Meanwhile, Maluku Culture and Tourism Office spokesperson Florence Sahusilawanesaid Sail Banda 2010 is expected to reflect an international shippingexpedition.

She said the international event is being designed by adopting the past periodof "hongitochten", punitive expeditions conducted by the Dutch tosuppress uprisings in Seram, particularly in the clove-rich peninsula ofHoamoal and nearby islands with traditional boats.

Therefore, Sahusilawane called on villages across Maluku which have typicaltraditional boats to take part in and liven up the Sail Banda 2010.

She said the promotion of Sail Banda 2010 would not be very difficult becauseBanda islands had been known worldwide since the past as spice islands, andeven UNESCO has named the islands one of the world heritages.

Maluku Governor Karel Albert Ralahalu said recently that some 150 sail boatsfrom
various countries had been registered to take part in Sail Banda 2010.

"I met Culture and Tourism Minister Jero Wacik in Jakarta recently and hesaid about 150 sail boats have signed up for the international maritime eventin Maluku next year," the governor said.

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