The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has launched the ‘Supporting our Blue Army’ initiative to protect seafarers’ rights and welfare.
The initiative to improve the quality of life of seafarers in the UAE follows a recent Resolution on marine wrecks and non-compliant ships passed the Council of Ministers designed to put a stop to unpaid crews and vessels abandonments in its waters.
H.E Eng. Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure in the UAE noted the important role of maritime transport with the UAE serving as logistics hub with more than 21,000 ships calling annually and over 20,000 local and international marine companies operating.
Al Mazrouei explained: “For these reasons, we’ve launched the ‘Supporting our Blue Army’ initiative to be one of the first countries to recognise and appreciate marine crews and put them on an equal footing with priority categories such as medical personnel, especially in such circumstances where seafarers played a key role in mitigating the devastating effects on the global economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic.”
Al Mazrouei stressed the role of the recent Resolution by the Council of Ministers. “In line with the Ministry’s role and our responsibility to set legislation and laws related to the maritime sector, as well as ensure compliance to these laws, we have been keen that our legal system supports seafarers who contribute to the UAE’s economic development. The latest achievement was the Cabinet resolution regarding marine wrecks and violating ships, which obliges all UAE flag ships and foreign flag ships in UAE waters or calling UAE ports to guarantee the rights of seafarers and fulfil their needs.”
He stressed that the Ministry will not tolerate any ship owner or operating company that fails to perform its duties towards seafarers or abandons them on board ships on the UAE shores.
In addition to the new resolution the UAE has signed an agreement with the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) to enhance cooperation in supporting seafarers. The initiatives run in parallel with allowing crew change in the UAE during the Covid-19 pandemic and providing treatment and vaccination of seafarers.
H.E Sheikh Nasser Majid Al-Qasimi, Assistant Undersecretary for the Infrastructure and Transport Sector at the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, said: “The UAE Government Excellence System and the Sheikh Khalifa Government Excellence Program have always motivated us to develop innovative ideas and projects, as well as adopt best practices. Inspired by this system, particularly the ‘Enhancing Wellbeing’ criterion, we have launched this initiative, which crowns the efforts of the Ministry’s team for several years to protect seafarers and provide better living conditions for them.
“We are confident that this initiative will have a global impact as thousands of seafarers who come to the UAE will benefit from it. The UAE will be the international benchmark for ensuring the welfare of seafarers and their rights. Ships that violate the rights of seafarers will not be able to enter the UAE waters, and therefore will not be part of the regional trade centre and the global supply chain and logistics services.”
Source: Seatrade Maritime