Tristar’s ‘Safety At Sea’ Conference Will Contribute Greatly To Seafarers
Held under the patronage of the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, Tristar Group’s Maritime Logistics division held the 4th annual ‘Safety at Sea’ conference at the One & Only Royal Mirage in Dubai on November 22, 2022. The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) expressed its confidence that the continuing initiative of Tristar will contribute greatly to safety at sea.
Shipping today transports more than 80 per cent of global trade, providing a reliable low-cost means of transporting goods globally, facilitating trade and helping prosperity among nations and people. According to the IMO, the Covid-19 pandemic and other difficulties facing the global shipping industry have brought tremendous hardships for seafarers.
“The IMO will continue to work tirelessly to deal with challenges related to maritime safety by means of a multi-pronged approach, including policy development, direct interventions by our Seafarer Crisis Action Team (SCAT), and interagency and industry partnerships. We will continue to work with governments, industry stakeholders and other international organisations to enhance maritime safety and security,” explained IMO Secretary General, Kitack Lim, in his opening remarks.
The IMO commended the efforts of the United Arab Emirates, which was one of the first countries to classify seafarers as ‘priority workers’ and facilitated the safe exchange of more than 240,000 seafarers, who were assisted to return to their home countries safely, as well as provided with medical treatment and Covid-19 vaccines.
Supporting the ‘Blue Army’
Boasting a coastline of more than 1,650 km, the UAE’s strategic location at the crossroads of global shipping routes makes the country a key trade and logistics hub. This is testified by the fact that the nation’s ports receive over 21,000 ships annually, and its ports handle more than 17 million containers each year.
H.E. Eng. Hessa Al Malek, Advisor to the Minister for Maritime Transport Affairs, UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure emphasised: “Seafarers are undoubtedly the backbone of our sector. In this regard, the UAE has led the way in taking action and launching ground-breaking initiatives. During the peak of the pandemic, we were the first country in the world to facilitate the safe exchange of more than 240,000 seafarers and their safe return to their home countries. Earlier this year, we launched the “Salmeen” initiative, which contributes to enhancing the quality of life of seafarers, and helps them in overcoming the challenges they faced due to the pandemic and travel restrictions. Additionally, we also launched initiatives such as “Supporting Our Blue Army” and “Sail Safely” to improve the quality of life of seafarers, and enhance maritime safety to protect people’s lives, respectively.”
“Furthermore, we aim to increase the volume of containers handled by the nation to 50 million by 2032, with a growth rate of about 150 per cent. This is in addition to our ambition of increasing the number of ships and tankers carrying the UAE flag to 2,000 ships. While we work on these goals, it is necessary that we also continue our efforts towards ensuring a better life for our ‘blue army,’ who have and will continue to play a major role in the industry’s success. An event such as this is essential for this purpose, as we will be able to bring together some of the greatest minds in the region’s sector in order to generate thoughts and ideas to decide the right way forward,” H.E. Eng. Al Malek added.
Discussing matters of concern
In addition to highlighting issues related to the physical and mental well-being of seafarers, the conference also discussed pressing issues such as decarbonisation, energy efficiency, digitalisation, and the role of AI in driving the progress of the sector.
Eugene Mayne, Founder and CEO of Tristar Group addressed the seafarers directly: “The last three years have changed things around. The world has been taking notice of the many challenges you face, whether it is pandemic-related or otherwise. When the United Nations named you a ‘Key Worker’, it helped unlock many doors: recognition, safe repatriations, quicker crew changeovers, and travel assistance. Support and solidarity from the International Maritime Organisation, the International Labour Organisation, and numerous other authorities, in addition to their new protocols will open more doors for you.”
Mayne concluded, “Now is a great time for a reset at sea, with the cooperation and participation of states, shipowners, governments, and authorities. Today is the time we look beyond borders and boundaries, and our competitors, as we work towards achieving a greater common good for all our seafarers.”
Following the inaugural “Safety at Sea” conference in 2019, Tristar Group has won multiple Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) awards for the initiative and is currently operating a 24/7 helpline for crew members in collaboration with the UK-based Sailors’ Society. The fully integrated energy logistics solutions provider is also a signatory to the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change, which recognises the shared responsibility of stakeholders to prioritise the health and well-being of people who work at sea.