The UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure is intensifying its efforts to ensure the safety and security of the maritime sector and protect the rights of seafarers on board ships in the UAE waters and ports, WAM states.
This is in line with Cabinet Resolution No. 71 of 2021 concerning marine wrecks and violating ships in UAE waters, which will come into effect from 15th September, 2021. The Ministry’s efforts support the UAE Government’s ongoing efforts to protect the UAE waters and marine environment, and reduce marine wrecks that may cause incidents.
The resolution obligates ship owners and operating companies to adhere to implementing it. It provides a legal framework for all government agencies concerned with safety and protecting the marine environment. These entities include the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, the competent judicial and legal authorities, and the local government entities concerned with dealing with marine wrecks and debris in UAE waters. The resolution constitutes a legal reference for all stakeholders to protect their rights and obliges all UAE and foreign flag ships in UAE waters or calling UAE ports to fulfill their obligations.
Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said, “The UAE is a globally-leading maritime hub, with over 25,000 ships calling its ports. This position is supported by the country’s strategic location at the gateway to the Arabian Gulf, the largest oil reserve in the world. The UAE also overlooks the Arabian Sea, which is at the heart of global trade routes. All of this requires us to pay great attention to the safety of our waters and waterways, which are the main artery for the movement of cargo ships coming to our ports, which are the top commercial gateway in the region.”
He stated that, as per the resolution, the Ministry will make the UAE a centre of maritime excellence, a benchmark for best practices and a zone free from violations that harm humans or threaten the environment.
The UAE’s global position in the trade and logistics sectors will help in mainstreaming these practices as they will be binding for everyone who deals with the global supply chain through UAE ports.
Al Mazrouei added, “In addition to the active ship movement in the waters of the UAE, which ranked 13th globally in the efficiency of seaport services index, it enjoys a unique geographical nature with a coastline extending over 1,650 km. The UAE has over 230 islands, many of which are habitat to rare aquatic life. Thus, we must take proactive measures to protect these vast areas and extended coasts, and contain anything that could cause marine debris, especially violating and abandoned ships.”
He emphasised that the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure is keen on protecting the rights of seafarers, and does not tolerate any violations by ship owners or operators towards seafarers. This includes their financial rights, working with dignity and living in favourable conditions.
Hassan Mohamed Jumaa Al Mansoori, Under-Secretary of Infrastructure and Transport Affairs at the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, explained the strategic importance of this resolution for the UAE being a member of the Executive Council of the International Maritime Organisation in Category B.
“According to the Cabinet Resolution, the ship shall be considered in violation and legal action will be taken against it if the ship owner or operator fails to pay the salaries of seafarers for two or more months. Thus, neglecting the rights of seafarers may cause ships to be seized or sold, whether they carry the UAE flag or any other flag. The rights of seafarers cannot be compromised, and the UAE waters are off limits for those who do not provide them with comfortable working and living conditions,” he said.
Al Mansoori added, “We will get the support of all stakeholders in the UAE maritime sector to form a united front to protect the environment and the rights of seafarers. We will also organise the Maritime Leaders Forum, which will bring together all stakeholders in the industry, including government and private organisations, ship owners, ship agents and operators, legal experts, classification societies, and port authorities, to reach the best solutions that guarantee the marine sector’s compliance with the procedures for protecting the marine environment and ensuring no infringement on the rights of seafarers.”We’ve written about abandoned seafarers and ships stuck at sea for two years here.