28 Abdullah Aldubaikhi, Bahri
Abdullah Aldubaikhi heads the Bahri fleet, which hit headlines this year when two tankers were attacked in May off Fujairah, escalating geopolitical tension in the Middle East and making headlines worldwide
Senior Saudi business figure had no shipping experience before his appointment to head the company in 2018
THE chief executive of Saudi’s national shipping company is rarely in the headlines, although this year Bahri could not avoid global media attention when two of its tankers were attacked off Fujairah.
The very large crude carrier Amjad and aframax product tanker Al Marzoqah were Bahri-owned ships damaged last May, as part of premeditated strikes on four ships by a team of divers deployed from fast boats who placed limpet mines on the vessels, which then detonated.
The Saudi-flagged ships and two others were likely targeted by unknown “state actors", a United Nations report found.
The company claims its fleet of 45 very large crude carriers makes Bahri the world’s largest owner and operator of this type of tanker.
The fleet moves not only Saudi crude and petrochemicals but dry bulk on a total fleet of some 90 vessels.
Some 45% of oil is loaded and shipped outside the Middle East Gulf, giving Bahri an international presence beyond that of a national oil carrier.
The company’s most recent report said the VLCC fleet shipped 832m barrels annually, which translates to about 4.4% of all crude seaborne trade.
Abdullah Aldubaikhi has few ties to shipping, joining the company as chief executive in January 2018.
His curriculum vitae reveals him to be Saudi senior business bureaucrat who previously worked for a range of national entities over the past 30 years, including the kingdom’s agricultural and livestock investment company, a private equity company and two technology companies.
One of his first priorities in 2020 may be to modernise the VLCC fleet, as only 11 of the 45 ships were built before 2010.
However, the VLCC fleet, under the previous shipping incarnation of Vela International Marine, is regarded as being scrupulously maintained.
Mr Aldubaikhi said back in 2018 that this was the year Bahri would raise $500m to expand the VLCC fleet by some five ships, as well as make a series of Asian acquisitions.
However, this has likely been sidelined by politics surrounding the Saudi Aramco initial public offering and the geopolitical tensions swirling in the region.