Dubai: 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, a government statement said.
Commenting on the launch of “Supporting Our Blue Army” initiative, Sheikh Nasser Majid Al-Qasimi, Assistant Undersecretary for the Infrastructure and Transport at the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, said this initiative will have a global impact as thousands of seafarers who come to the UAE will benefit from it.
The program, which is an extension of UAE’s Enhancing Wellbeing’ policy, will protect seafarers’ rights with ship owners and operating companies and help them overcome the challenges they face as a result of the pandemic and travel restrictions.
UAE Minister and Energy and Infrastructure Suhail Al Mazrouei said the country ranks the ninth best global maritime hub and has some of the largest and most developed ports in the region in terms of infrastructure and digital systems.
Its ports receive more than 21,000 ships every year and more than 20,000 local and international maritime companies operate in the UAE with over 17 million containers handled in the UAE ports annually.
“These operations add significant economic returns to the national economy. All these achievements cannot be made without the dedication of thousands of seafarers who arrive to the UAE’s waters on board ships from across the world,” he said.
He said with ‘Supporting our Blue Army’ initiative, UAE will be one of the first countries to recognize 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 added that UAE’s legal system supports seafarers who contribute to its economic development, such as the recent 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 fulfill their needs.
The Ministry will take all proactive measures to ensure that the marine system in the UAE does not allow such violations of the rights of seafarers and crews, he added.
‘Supporting our Blue Army’ initiative also aims to provide a national platform for government and private organizations and agencies, as well as build partnerships with local and international NGOs that care for seafarers to improve the quality of their lives.