All ships flying the flag of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) trading internationally, and all ships operating in UAE waters above 200 gross tons will have to have a financial security system in place for seafarers.
The insurance relates to cases of abandonment, death or injury of seafarers and covers up to four months’ owed contractual wages and entitlements, according to a circular issued by UAE’s Federal Transport Authority (FTA).
The measure, being introduced as the country readies to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention 2006, is set to enter into force on February 20, 2018, FTA said.
Ships not complying with this requirement will not be allowed to anchor or call UAE ports.
In January 2017, the 2014 amendments to the MLC, 2006 came into force, providing seafarers with direct access to a compulsory insurance that could be used in the event of abandonment.
UAE has been fiercely criticized 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.
In 2017, FTA baned ships operated by India-based LPG shipowning company Varun from calling the UAE ports amid repeated crew abandonment cases. The transport authority also banned all ships flying the Micronesian flag from entering its waters and ports.