Steps mulled to protect seafarers

MUSCAT July 10 – The rights of seafarers should be protected and their safety needs to be ensured, said the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC), represented by the Department of Ports and Maritime Affairs.
The call comes in the wake of an increasing number of foreign vessels being stopped at Oman’s ports for various reasons.
Result: sailors had to stay for months at sea without wages, which impacted their health.
Dr Rashid bin Mohammed al Kiyumi, Director-General of Maritime Affairs at MoTC, said: “The ministry, in coordination with Ministry of Manpower, has initiated measures to join the Maritime Labour Agreement of 2006 in order to ensure necessary protection for seafarers.”
This, he said, will be as per the international conventions.
“Seafarers in ships, when they stay in ports or territorial waters of any country for long periods, need to be safeguarded,” he said at the two-day workshop on rights of seafarers, organised with participation from specialists from International Federation of Transport Workers under the auspices of Saeed bin Hamdoon al Harthy, Under-Secretary, MoTC.
A special committee has been asked to come up with recommendations that will reduce/ prevent interruptions of foreign ships at Oman ports.
The workshop was attended by 38 participants from Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Administrative Affairs Council of the Judiciary, Ministry of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Manpower, Omani Lawyers Association, Human Rights Committee, Maritime Security Center Oman, shipping companies/ agencies and ship owners in the country.
The number of Omani sailors in Oman and foreign waters is more than 800, according to experts at the workshop.

KABEER YOUSUF