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Port agents targeted in latest UAE crew abandonment measures

Port agents targeted in latest UAE crew abandonment measures
Sam Chambers January 10th, 2019

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is shedding its reputation as a hotspot for crew abandonment with a series of measures introduced over the past 12 months aimed at completely stamping out the scourge.

The latest ruling from the UAE’s Federal Transport Authority (FTA), issued this week, means all ships – both local and foreign – calling at the Middle East nation must carry appropriate insurance cover for seafarer repatriation. A total of 25 insurers have been approved by UAE authorities.

The FTA warned in a three-page circular seen by Splash that ship’s agents must check this insurance is in place before taking on a vessel’s agency or else the agent will have to foot the bill of any abandonment case.

The UAE has worked hard to clampdown on abandoned crew of late, something it noted in the circular issued this week that has seen “remarkable results and the reduction in the number of seafarer abandonment cases”.

During much of the shipping downturn, the UAE became a dumping ground for distressed shipping assets, but in the past couple of years the authorities have taken a number of measures to improve the situation in local waters.

In May last year the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the FTA signed a groundbreaking memorandum of understanding to work together to protect the rights of all seafarers operating in UAE waters. The UAE has blacklisted many shipowners who have been found guilty of neglecting their crew in the past two years.

The UAE’s efforts have not gone unnoticed with many shipping charities applauding the Arab state’s efforts in interviews with Splash in recent months.