On Day of the Seafarer, UAE Launches New Welfare Initiative

File image courtesy Clear Seas

Published Jun 26, 2022 5:39 PM by The Maritime Executive

On June 25, the shipping industry observes the Day of the Seafarer. It could not come at a better time, as seafarers continue to face systemic welfare challenges. The war in Ukraine and the ongoing pandemic have made conditions even more difficult for many.

While the Day of the Seafarer is primarily intended to celebrate the gallant efforts of men and women in shipping, it is also a day to advocate for solutions to the many challenges they face.

The UAE took this direction in marking the day. Led by the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, Hon. Suhail Al Mazrouei, he launched a new initiative named “Salmeen” to guide the UAE’s government efforts to prioritize welfare of the seafarers.

The key pillar of the initiative is to open the door for seafarers to get the support they need. This will entail identifying and removing physical and social barriers through cooperation between public and private sectors. It also includes a package to arrange medical care for seafarers, as well as maritime training and education opportunities.

“When we talk about the shipping sector in the UAE, we must recognize the influential role the UAE plays in the global maritime scene. Launching the ‘Salmeen’ initiative confirms our continuous support for seafarers and reflects our firm belief in the active role they play towards strengthening UAE as an unparalleled global maritime hub,” commented Suhail Mazrouei.

This initiative builds on the “Our Blue Army Scheme” launched by the Ministry in August last year. It gave seafarers the same status as front-line health workers, guaranteeing access to Covid-19 vaccines and allowing crew replacements when required.

Currently, UAE receives more than 21,000 ships annually and handles over 17 million containers at the country’s ports each year. As a busy maritime hub it is also a common jurisdiction for vessel abandonment, a major challenge for seafarer welfare, according to data compiled by RightShip.