Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Themed "The Ocean for Future Life," Sail Wakatobi-Belitung 2011 (SWB 2011) is expected to be the biggest international marine event in Indonesia after Sail Banda 2010 and Sail Bunaken 2009.

During the SWB 2011, two of Indonesian paradise islands besides Bali, namely Wakatobi and Bangka Belitung will be presented to foreign tourists who have been quite familiar with the island resort of Bali.

In a bid to make the upcoming event a great success, Southeast Sulawesi Governor Nur Alam has called on all related government agencies in the province to fully support it.

"I call on all related parties to help make the Sail Wakatobi-Belitung 2011 a great success," Governor Nur Alam told all district heads and mayors at a preparatory meeting for the event at his office in Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi on Wednesday.

For him, the SWB 2011 will be the greatest international marine event ever held in Indonesia after Sail Bunaken 2009 in North Sulawesi and Sail Banda 2010 in Maluku.

Sail Bunaken 2009 was held from August 12 to 20, 2009 in North Sulawesi and participated in by 28 warships, a number of fighter planes, and 165 yachts from at least 30 countries which joined an International Fleet Review.

A year later, Sail Banda was organized in Maluku from July 24 to August 17, 2010 when Coordinating Minister for People`s Welfara Agung Laksono flagged off 49 of 106 foreign yachts at Cullen Bay in Darwin, Australia, to mark the start of Sail Banda international yacht rallies.

The Sail Wakatobi-Balitung 2011 yacht rally will start from Darwin Australia on July 23, and the participants will pass 21 districts and cities in Indonesia until finish in Singapore.

Governor Nur Alam said the event with various marine activities would be a precious opportunity to promote the regional potential including Wakatobi as the center of the world coral reefs triangle with underwater paradise.

Therefore the governor called on all district heads and mayors in the province to prepare various facilities and infrastructure for the international marine event.

Meanwhile, Southeast Sulawesi Marine and Fisheries Department spokesman Abdul Salam said that various activities such as Surya Baskara Jaya health operation, exhibitions, maritime shipping traffic, and international seminars would be conducted as part of Sail Wakatobi-Belitong 2011.

In addition, Abdul Salam said the event would also be enlivened undersea mass wedding activity, undersea photo taking competition, and culture and art competition in each district.

He said Sail Wakatobi-Belitung 2011 was a national program and therefore it should run as planned.

For the success of the international marine event, the 50-kilometer Wangi-wangi ring road in Wakatobi will soon be asphalted before President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono`s visit to the district to open the event in August this year.

In addition, three docks, namely Wangi-wangi, Kaledupa, and Pulau Tomia in the district, have been fixed for the international marine event.

Wakatobi Transportation Department head Syarifuddin said in the Southeast Sulawesi provincial city of Kendari recently that the

repair of the three piers would cost around Rp70 billion from the state budget through the Transportation Ministry.

"The funds have been disbursed and the work to fix the three quays is expected to be completed by the end of July this year," Syarifuddin said.

According to him, the quays would be used by the participants of event and the divers from around the world.

Besides, they will also be used by naval ships to conduct a so-called Surya Baskara Jaya health operation.

Especially for the Wangi-wangi pier, Syarifuddin said it would be used by the sail participating yachts to moor and a command post.

Meanwhile, head of Wakatobi Public Works Agency, Tawakal, said in Kendari that the project of Wangi-wangi ring road was expected to be completed early August before the arrival of President Yudhoyono and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono to open the Sail Wakatobi-Belitung.

To welcome the Sail Wakatobi-Belitung event in which world-class divers will take part, Tawakal said the Wakatobi district government and the local people have started to prepare cultural attractions of

Kabuenga, Bangka Mbule-mbule, and Karia to entertain the participants of the international marine event.

Besides, the participants of Sail Wakatobi-Belitung 2011 and the divers from around the world are expected to have a great opportunity to go diving in magnificent diving facilities at Wakatobi Marine National Park.

As stunning as Wakatobi, Bangka Belitung is also blessed with beaches having blue sea waters, coral reefs, fine white sand, and giant granite rock formations awaiting the SWB 2011 participants.

Belitong exotic beaches include Tanjung Kiras beach, Tanjung Pendam beach, Tanjung tinggi, Tanjung Kelayang, Tanjung Binga fisherman village, Panyaeran beach, Tanjung Kubu, Gembira bay and Tanjung Ru, which are ideal sites for diving, scuba, snorkeling, fishing and sailing.

The island also has other tourist attractions such as Golf Babute driving course, Lengkuas island, Gurok Beraye waterfall, Batu Baginde hill, Tirta Marundang natural pool and Dayang Seri Pinai Pool.

Meanwhile, the marine affairs and fishery ministry`s director general of marine and fishery resources surveillance Syahrin Aburrahman said the SWB 2011 would be highlighted with six main activities, namely a yacht rally, a Bhakti Surya Bhaskara Jaya civic mission, national and international seminars on marine and fishery resources management, a youth marine event, and marine and fishery product exhibition.

Abdurrahman said the Bhakti Surya Baskara Jaya civic mission would be held in Riau Island Province, Bangka Belitung Province, West Kalimantan Province, Gorontalo Province, Southeast Sulawesi Province, and South Sulawesi Province.

"After successfully breaking two world diving records during Sail Bunaken 2009 and Sail Banda 2010, Sail Bunaken-Belitung 2011 will be highlighted with underwater chess games trying to break another world record," he said said. (*)


Reporter: Otniel Tamindael
Editor: Jafar M Sidik
Copyright © ANTARA 2011