The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the United Arab Emirates’ Federal Transport Authority (FTA) have signed an agreement to work together to preserve the rights of seafarers operating in the UAE.
The UAE has been criticized for the increasing number of seafarer abandonment cases that have occurred in its waters in recent years.
At one point last July, it was reported that 100 Indian sailors across 22 vessels were stranded off the country’s coast and were seeking the assistance of the Indian Consulate General in Dubai. There were also believed to be individuals from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Myanmar and Pakistan aboard these ships.
The ITF and FTA initially met last year to discuss how to tackle the abandonment problem and agreed to increase their cooperation and information exchange. The new agreement is the first of its kind between a government authority and the ITF.
“This agreement allows us to consult, cooperate and coordinate jointly and continuously to find legal solutions regarding the abandonment of seafarers aboard ships, by ship owners and operators, and to work together to combat and prevent the occurrence of this phenomenon in the future,” says Dr. Abdullah Belheif Al Nuaimi, chairman of the FTA board of directors.
In January of this year, the FTA mandated that all ships operating in UAE waters above 200 gross tons must have a financial security system in place for seafarers. The insurance covers up to four months’ owed wages, cases of death or injury, and cases of abandonment.