At a press conference held in Abu Dhabi, his excellency Dr Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, minister of infrastructure development and chairman of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Federal Transport Authority (FTA) gave an update of the UAE’s efforts to comply with International Maritime Organization (IMO) conventions and work on crew abandonment during the country’s membership in the IMO’s council.
“To other countries, we seem shady,” his excellency said, adding that he is keen to open up the dialogue between the ministry and the international shipping community.
The UAE is trying to improve its flag state position. Currently, the nation sits on place 14 according to a International Chamber of Shipping ranking.
Over the past two years, the UAE has attended IMO meetings, raised the number of ports approved by the World Health Organisation’s regulations from eight in 2016 to 12 in 2017 and set up IMO-approved waste facilities in ports.
It has also signed a number of IMO conventions and protocols. Of the ratifications needed to improve its ICS rating, the UAE has not signed the Maritime Labour Convention. Instead, The FTA has signed a memorandum of understanding with the International Transport Workers’ Federation in 2018 to protect rights of seafarers on board ships that also includes an insurance regime to help with crew abandonment.
The FTA is currently working on resolving outstanding cases of abandoned crew in the UAE. It is hopeful to complete all cases this year. “We managed to solve 80% of cases last year,” the minister said. He and his team work with embassies, representatives of seafarer associations, such as the Red Cross (read more about crew abandonment in DPC’s sister publication Safety at Sea’s June edition).
Al Nuaimi said going forward, the UAE focuses on investment into safety and protection of the marine environment as well as cyber security.