Independent Review of UAE Protections for Seafarers Released

Credit: Human Rights at Sea
Credit: Human Rights at Sea

Published Aug 12, 2019 7:09 PM by The Maritime Executive

Human Rights at Sea has issued an independent review of the current legal and policy protections for seafarers operating in United Arab Emirates (UAE) waters following a series of high-profile abandonment cases since late 2018.

Seafarers have been abandoned for extended periods, some up to 33 months. Often they have minimal access to effective legal and judicial remedies, unless championed by the flag State, port State authorities. Human Rights at Sea is raising the issue, saying that without this, or having the issue raised publicly through civil society and maritime welfare organizations, such unacceptable practices will continue with impunity.

The independent review aims to highlight legal and policy developments by the UAE Government in combating such issues. The UAE has not yet ratified the Maritime Labour Convention 2006, but does offer some protection through domestic law. This protection can be difficult to pursue by seafarers who may have difficulty finding and communicating with the relevant authority in a timely manner. 

Human Rights at Sea says action may soon be taken on the convention through a proposed new maritime law in 2020 updating the extant 1981 law as announced by Dr. Abdullah bin Mohammed Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development, on Sunday July 7, 2019. 

Human Rights at Sea has campaigned on the issue of seafarer abandonment through case studies and personal testimonies.

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The Human Rights at Sea briefing note is available here.