Recognizing the seafarers as “the unsung heroes of global trade” due to their immense contribution to maintaining the continuity of global maritime operations amid all challenges
Dubai, United Arab Emirates – 11, December 2021: The UAE has once again extended its support to the cause of seafarers’ welfare through its collaboration with the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), after continuously championing for their rights since the beginning of the pandemic. Such initiative will help to enhance seafarers’ life as well as overcoming the challenges they face as a result of the pandemic and travel restrictions.
The UAE is a logistics hub linking global shipping lines and has the major share of the ships that call on the region’s ports, with more than 21,000 ships every year. Over 20,000 local and international maritime companies operate in the UAE with over 17 million containers handled in the UAE ports annually. These achievements couldn’t have been occurred without the dedication of thousands of seafarers who arrive to the UAE’s waters on-board ships from across the world.
H.E. Hessa Al Malek, Advisor to the Minister for Maritime Transport Affairs, UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure highlighted, “Seafarers are the lifeline of our industry. They are the one the frontlines, facing every calamity and natural disaster and connecting the world via sea routes. The country was one of the first IMO Member States to designate seafarers as key workers during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic and supported them by facilitating safe ship crew change, repatriation of workers, administering vaccinations, and providing them access to medical care.”
Welfare initiatives for seafarers
Furthering their agenda for protection of seafarers’ rights and welfare, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also launched the ‘Supporting our Blue Army’ initiative to improve the quality of life for seafarers while they are in the UAE. The initiative protects seafarers’ rights with ship owners and operating companies, as well as helps seafarers overcome the challenges they face as a result of the pandemic and travel restrictions.
Mohammed Khamis Al Kaabi, UAE Permanent Representative at the IMO, 'We are confident that our initiatives 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.”
These efforts are in parallel with facilitating safe exchange of over 240,00 seafarers while providing all necessary medical care and free COVID-19 vaccines.