Insurance for seafarers will become compulsory for all UAE flagged ships by February this year.
As part of attempts to meet international shipping standards, The Federal Transport Authority – Land and Maritime of the United Arab Emirates will make it a legal requirement for crew members to be insured.
The change will take effect by February 2018 and will apply to all UAE ships trading internationally and all ships over 200 gt operating in UAE waters.
Ships must have proof of insurance cover for up to four months’ owed wages and entitlement. Any ships in contravention will not be allowed to anchor at or call UAE ports.
MARITIME LABOUR CONVENTION
The move comes as newly elected IMO Council member UAE prepares to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention, which as of January 2017 requires ships subject to the MLC to display proof of financial security measures.
UAE has been fiercely criticised for an increasing number of abandonment cases in UAE waters.
With the aim of dealing with the negative trend, FTA officials announced that they would push for the UAE to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention 2006, and teamed up with the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) in order to get advice, training and expertise on the issue.
Another announcement was the prohibiting of any foreign flagged ships entering UAE ports if they are over 25 years old.
David Heindel, chair of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), seafarers’ section:
“We are strongly behind the mandate issued by the Federal Transport Authority – Land and Maritime, for the financial protection of seafarers operating in the waters of the UAE,”
“Basic rights are being violated on a daily basis by companies operating in this region who not only fail to pay wages, but also fail to provide safe working conditions and enough food and clean water for their seafarers.
“This is a huge step forward in a region where, historically, shipowners have been allowed to repeatedly abuse the rights of seafarers,”