Middle EastOperations

UAE commits to protecting seafarers in signing of historic memorandum with the ITF

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Federal Transport Authority (FTA) have signed a groundbreaking memorandum of understanding to work together to protect the rights of all seafarers operating in UAE waters.

On signing the memorandum at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) in London, ITF general secretary Stephen Cotton said: “We at the ITF are committed to ensuring seafarers are protected all around the world. This is a significant opportunity to work with our partners in the UAE to bring seafarers and workers’ safety to forefront of the conversation.

“This agreement is just the beginning and will hopefully pave the way for similar agreements in other territories. We are keen to work for greater cooperation, in all areas of transportation.”

Dr Abdullah Belheif Al Nuaimi, minister of infrastructure development and chairman of the FTA board of directors, spoke at the event: “This agreement allows us to consult, cooperate and coordinate jointly and continuously to find legal solutions regarding the abandonment of seafarers aboard ships, by shipowners and operators, and to work together to combat and prevent the occurrence of this phenomenon in the future.”

This is the first agreement of its kind between a government authority and the ITF. The two parties are committed to working closely together and sharing information to provide comprehensive and timely support to in need vessels and seafarers within UAE waters.

Last year the FTA and ITF met to discuss the increasing number of abandonment cases faced by the UAE and the Gulf state’s desire to bring an end to the problem. UAE authorities have done a great deal in the past 18 months to tackle crew abandonment after their waters became a hotspot for the scourge.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. Probably about the best bit of news to come out in the shipping industry to protect sailors. It is so wrong that these men are left to basically fend for themselves whilst being in Limbo, anyone who does this is not a fit person to run a business where the majority of the employees are at sea.

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