The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has resumed crew change activities in all its ports and waters, the Federal Transport Authority (FTA) said.
The measure is being announced as UAE manages to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the impact of which has resulted in an unprecedented humanitarian crisis for seafarers across the globe.
FTA said that UAE adopted a protocol of resuming maritime activities with safety measures as part of the procedures for the gradual return of maritime activities in the state.
UAE was among the states committing to facilitate crew changes and grant key worker designation for seafarers, following a virtual ministerial summit hosted by the UK government on July 9.
“In recognition of the seafarer’s role in the shipping industry and the continuity of global supply chains and cargo flow and based on the outcomes of the Maritime Summit on Crew Changes held on the 9th of July 2020 with the participation of UAE to facilitate crew changes, the protocol includes the permission to resume of crew changes activities in UAE ports and waters,” FTA said.
The 13 governments included representatives from Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UAE, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, travel restrictions and border closures imposed by governments around the world have caused significant hurdles to crew changes and left hundreds of thousands of seafarers stranded onboard ships, or unable to join ships.
It is currently estimated that over 300,000 seafarers worldwide are stranded on ships and require immediate repatriation, and a similar number of seafarers urgently needs to join ships to replace them.
Due to the ongoing situation, the seafarer community is in the midst of a mental health crisis, the latest edition of the Seafarers Happiness Index (SHI) published by the Mission to Seafarers shows.