Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Cabinet Member and Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, has commended the efforts made by the World Health Organisation, the International Labour Organisation, the International Civil Aviation Organisation and the International Maritime Organisation, to ensure the continuity of global supply chains and movement of cargo and trucks during the COVID-19 epidemic.
The minister, who is also the Board Chairman of the Federal Transport Authority – Land & Maritime, made the remarks while addressing the International Maritime Virtual Summit which the UK recently convened to address the impact of COVID-19 on crew changes. The difficulties shipsʹ crews face across the world was at the centre of the discussions, while all governments and parties were urged to resolve the issues with maritime transport to support workers and the industry more widely. Representatives from over a dozen countries attended the summit.
“The UAE has recently announced a sweeping government restructuring, merging ministries and departments to create a more agile government that is faster in decision making and better in seizing opportunities and dealing with the new phase of the country’s history,” said the minister, while explaining the steps taken by the UAE to address the fallout of the epidemic.
“We are able to turn the challenges triggered by the COVID-19 to opportunities and deliver a more sustainable future,” he added.
“In the maritime sector, we are determined to lay a special focus on digital transformation and emerging technologies,” the minister said, noting that the operation of self-navigating vessels needs grooming a generation of qualified crews who are capable of dealing with the major challenges to businesses in the digital age.
The minister remarked that the COVID-19 is not a health crisis merely, but rather s total all-embracing one that has impacted all sectors, including the maritime platform. He cited the ‘Echoes of Hope’ initiative launched by the UAE to support and salute workers in the marine services and healthcare sectors, and in solidarity with the epidemic control teams around the world and all individuals working in vital locations and frontlines who are addressing the implications of COVID-19.
“We should continue to work together on addressing all challenges faced by seafarers by ensuring continuity of global maritime supply chains,” he continued, reaffirming the Federal Transport Authority’s determination to pursue state-of-the-art-technology in addressing crew changes and streamlining shipping operations.
During the Summit, 13 Governments from across the world, i.e. United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, United Kingdom, US, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Netherlands, Norway, Philippines, and Singapore, agreed to a joint statement of the international maritime virtual summit on crew changes.