UAE announces mandatory insurance, ban on old ships to protect sailors

Safety measures announced ahead of ratifying Maritime Labour Convention to end sailors’ saga of misery

Dubai: The seafarers’ saga of misery that plagued the UAE waters in recent months will soon see an end with the government introducing strict measures to ensure a safety net for sailors.

The Federal Transport Authority (FTA) for Land and Maritime on Sunday confirmed that it has made insurance coverage for sailors mandatory so that they will be compensated in case of delayed payments and abandonment by ship owners as well as for death and injuries during work.

All ships carrying the flag of the UAE and all foreign vessels with over 200 tonnes of weight operating in UAE waters and ports should implement this, the FTA said. The vessels are required to have the proof of insurance to operate in the UAE.

“The sailors should be compensated in the event of injuries during work and deported to their countries in case of abandonment by the ship owner and their delayed salaries should be covered.”

The authority said the UAE is the first among the regional countries to take this step which is in line with the recent amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) of 2006.

The new measure comes at a time when the UAE is preparing to ratify the convention which will come into effect on February 20, it said.

Recently, the UAE had become the first Arab country to win Category B membership into the International Maritime Organisation Council.

As reported by Gulf News, the UAE waters had also seen several cases in which seafarers were not provided with salaries and essential food and fuel supplies over the last year.

“The new regulations oblige ship owners to provide financial protection against the abandonment of employers by seafarers or in the event of death or injury.”

“This is a major step in an area where seafarers have been regularly exploited by ship owners which must stop immediately,” FTA stated.

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