Dubai: The Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure of the UAE recently honored Mr. Andy Bowerman, Regional Director for Middle East & South Asia, Mission to Seafarers, acknowledging his efforts and achievements in supporting seafarers and following up on their needs during his tenure in the UAE, which is nearing completion.
The appreciation from the Ministry was part of its the ‘Supporting our Blue Army’ initiative.
Mission to Seafarers is a not-for-profit organization that offers emergency assistance and practical support to ship crews.
Interacting with Mr. Bowerman on the occasion, Ms. Hessa Al Malek, Advisor to the Minister for Maritime Transport Affairs, Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, praised the efforts of Mission to Seafarers.
The UAE Minister applauded Mr. Bowerman for his efforts in terms of caring for seafarers and providing support to them, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Ministerial Advisor further added that, “The initiative protects seafarers’ rights with ship owners and operating companies, as well as helps seafarers overcome their challenges. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the UAE has taken a step forward by classifying seafarers as ‘priority workers’ as they have been on the front line since the onset of the pandemic, providing critical services despite challenging circumstances.”
Meanwhile, Me. Andy Bowerman, Regional Director for Middle East & South Asia, Mission to Seafarers stated that, “I would like to extend my gratitude to the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure for this honor, and truly commend the Ministry’s efforts in providing support to seafarers and taking care of their affairs. Mission to Seafarers really appreciates the cooperation we have received from the Ministry, especially during the unprecedented circumstances we faced during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The practices the UAE has adopted, and the laws and regulations it has issued, contribute to making it one of the leading countries worldwide in terms of working towards the welfare of seafarers by supporting them and protecting their rights.”
SUPPORTING OUR BLUE ARMY
A comprehensive framework through which the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, the ‘Supporting our Blue Army’ Initiative unites all MoEI initiatives aimed at supporting seafarers and protecting their rights.
The Initiative also strives to offer a national platform for government and private organizations, as well as local and international NGOs to collaborate and work towards improving the quality of seafarers’ lives.
The initiative has enabled the Ministry to achieve several goals in terms of protecting and supporting seafarers. The most prominent of these achievements is its contribution towards issuing the Cabinet’s resolution regarding marine wrecks and violating ships; announcing regulations that guarantee the protection of seafarers’ rights; and signing an agreement with the International Transport Workers’ Federation to enhance cooperation in supporting seafarers.
These efforts are at par with providing moral support to seafarers in the UAE; such as, providing free medical treatment and COVID-19 vaccines, and allowing crew changes, in which the UAE has achieved a global precedence, alleviating the suffering of seafarers.
During the peak of the pandemic, more than 214,000 seafarers confined to their ships were assisted in the crew change process, and were safely sent back to their home countries.