Lighting Up The Emirates

On a recent trip in the Emirates one of our readers spotted this unique looking lighthouse (of sorts) in Bahrain and asked what it was. We thought it’d be a good idea to provide a little info on why you could, would and do find lighthouses like these in this part of the world.

Bahrain VTS Tower

Firstly, it’s good to know that this isn’t exactly a lighthouse like those we’ve blogged about before on site. This is a VTS tower that sits just off one of the harbour in the east of Bahrain. Bahrain is an important port city as it’s a hub for importing and export. A VTS tower is simply a traffic control hub for harbours. It works in much the same way as an air traffic control tower in an airport, helping cargo ships arrive in to dock in the right way without disrupting traffic for other ships.

They’re often known for having unique shapes. The image above is of one in Aberdeen,Scotland; another important port city which has a history of its own when it comes to Lighthouses. In our case, the VTS tower in Bahrain plays a big part in helping day to day life in Bahrain get moving.

The island itself doesn’t produce much so it’s focussed much more on importing a lot from across the Persian gulf and further afield to accommodate the growing tourism sector and those from the worldwide financial sector. Because of it’s location right on the edge of the gulf, it’s port is one of the biggest in the Emirates for the main island having such a small population. Much of the port was constructed form reclaimed land and it’s located only 13km from Bahrain international airport, making it extremely convenient for international companies. This has led to an increase in long term rentals and hotel occupancy for the island.

Some of the  luxury accommodation Bahrain has to offer is one of the main reasons for this growth too as many travellers from Europe are going here for holidays rather than Southern Spain and North Africa as they can get tropical conditions almost year round. With more international visitors the level of import is only getting higher. This separates Bahrain from other locations like Dubai or Kuwait and increases the need for a VTS tower.

Essentially these towers are the modern equivalent of the lighthouse, as they’re able to track where cargo ships are for miles, can inform captains directly of any changes to docking and help control the flow of a hub on land and at sea.

Do you know of any other ports like this? Or any that still use a lighthouse in tandem with the VTS tower? Get in touch and let us know about it.


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