Greater Protection for Abandoned UAE Crew

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Abandoned crew will receive greater protection from unscrupulous ship owners which is made possible by the new partnership between the Federal Transport Authority and a global workers union, reports The National.

Protect seafarers rights

An agreement was signed at the International Maritime Organisation in London between the International Transport Workers’ Federation and the FTA to work together to protect the rights of all seafarers operating in UAE waters.

This allows the two bodies to consult, cooperate and coordinate jointly and continuously in order to find legal solutions for the abandonment of seafarers.

“This is a significant opportunity to work with our partners in the UAE to bring seafarers and workers’ safety to forefront of the conversation,” said Stephen Cotton, ITF general secretary.

“This agreement is just the beginning and will hopefully pave the way for similar agreements in other territories.”

It is an important step that should help protect seafarers, Dr Paul Burt from the Mission to Seafarers, an international welfare charity that helps merchant crews, said.

Tight Sailing in UAE

In February, compulsory insurance was required by ship owners entering UAE waters to guarantee four months salary for crew, and repatriation costs.

“Maritime activity is a significant part of the UAE’s identity,” he said.

“This area cannot be a black spot, so the FTA has taken on more of a role in trying to ensure the abandonments become less common.”

“There is now compulsory insurance required for ship owners liability towards seafarers should there be any problems with finance.”

“It shows progress is being made, but will take time to filter through the system.”

“It will make abandoning these smaller operations uneconomic as they will not be able to afford the insurance on this kind of scale.”

Legal support for seafarers

“The benefit Clyde and Co offers is to act as mediators between individual seafarers and whoever is causing them problems, either the shipowner or port operator.”

Clyde and Co has a pro-bono programme giving legal support in terms of operation and governance, such as registration or employment contracts.

“It ensures they are well governed, and they don’t incur these costs,” said Community Investment Manager, Sinead Boden.

“Although we don’t get directly involved in specific cases, we do offer advice to the mission that may help seafarers who have got into legal difficulties, for abandonment, or non-payment of wages.”

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Source: The National

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