The UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure’s MoU with Panama Maritime Authority to enhance training and watchkeeping of seafarers has been hailed as as a smart cooperation which will ensure maintaining globally recognised standards of safety for mariners, protection of assets and the marine environment.
The Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure of the UAE signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) at IMO premises in London, for a period of five years, in order to ensure improved training for seafarers, recognition of certificates at the end of both the parties, and better watchkeeping for seafarers on an international level.
As part of the MoU, the two parties will enable seafarers who hold the certificates of competency and proficiency to serve onboard vessels registered under the flag of either parties.
The agreement aims to establish measures to ensure that seafarers are educated with appropriate knowledge of the maritime legislation, and are given training about the maritime laws and regulations to ensure that they acquire the required capabilities for the functions they are permitted to perform. Moreover, the MoU will ensure that both parties communicate their seafarer certification systems to the IMO for its review and confirmation, in order to demonstrate full compliance with the provision of the 1978 STCW Convention.
Nikeel Idnani, honourary secretary, Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (IMarEST) UAE Branch, said: “Under international law, every merchant ship must be registered with a country, known as its Flag State. Panama has the largest shipping fleet with 8,600 of the approximately 100,000 ships trading worldwide. Yet the country itself has only one small shipping line. In contrast, there are approximately 700 ships managed from the UAE which can benefit from the MoU with the reputed Panama Maritime Authority which will endorse Seafarers onboard UAE managed ships are properly trained and qualified. This smart cooperation will ensure maintaining globally recognised standards of safety for mariners, protection of assets and the marine environment.”
In line with the agreement signed between the Ministry and the Panama Maritime Authority, both parties are required to ensure that the training and assessment of the seafarers are administered, supervised, and monitored in accordance with the provisions of the 1978 International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW).
Furthermore, the agreement allows both parties to request access to the output of the quality standard evaluations, trainings, assessments of competence, medical certifications, endorsements, and revalidation activities carried out by each other, in order to ensure that both parties comply to the standards set by Regulation I/8 of the 1978 STCW Convention, Section A-I/8 of the STCW Code, and section A-I/9 of the STCW Code for the issuance of certificates.
Moreover, the agreement also permits both the parties to carry out inspections of the facilities, observe the procedures, or review the statutes which have been approved or employed by one another.
Hessa Al Malek, advisor to the Minister for Maritime Transport Affairs, UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, said: “Seafarers are at the heart of our industry and are the drivers of the global supply chain. It is our duty to ensure that we work towards their welfare. As agreed with the Panama Maritime Authority, not only will the certificates of our seafarers issued by either of us be recognized for near-costal voyages, we will also work towards strengthening the technical and administrative capabilities regarding certifications, trainings, watchkeeping, and labour maritime affairs of our seafarers.”
Mohammed Khamis Al Kaabi, UAE Permanent Representative at the IMO, said: “The UAE has always been at the forefront of ensuring the progress of the maritime sector while also ensuring the welfare of our seafarers. As a result of our collaboration with the Panama Maritime Authority, we look forward to providing better training to our seafarers, along with improved facilities, and more recognized certification for their nature of work. As part of our agreement, we will be communicating with each other regarding our training and certification procedures. This will allow us to learn from one another, and also discuss better ways to enhance theoretical and practical knowledge of our seafarers.”
The UAE has always been at the forefront of supporting the seafarers’ community and has launched various initiatives that work towards their betterment. By launching the ‘Supporting our Blue Army’ initiative, the nation has worked towards improving the quality of life for seafarers and protects their rights with ship owners and operating companies.
Capt. Abdulla Darwish Al Hayyas, Director of Maritime Transport Affairs, UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, said, “With the help of the MoU signed between the Ministry and the Panama Maritime Authority, we look forward to extending our support to the seafarers’ community by ensuring improved training, better watchkeeping on an international level, better recognition for their certificates across border, and easier accessibility into foreign coastal borders. Our aim through such agreements is to recognise and appreciate marine crews, and put them on an equal footing with priority categories.”
— With inputs from Wam, email@example.com
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