A new initiative launched by the UAE caters to the needs of sailors and seafarers, and those working in the maritime sector, by improving their working conditions and quality of life, and helping them overcome challenges they face due to the pandemic and travel restrictions. Introduced by the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure in conjunction with the Day of the Seafarer, the ‘Salmeen’ initiative aims for the betterment of the comfort and safety of people employed in the maritime sector - one of the pillars of the UAE economy and vital to the country’s position as a key logistics hub, connecting global shipping lines and receiving over 21,000 ships annually. The ministry added that more than 27,000 local and international maritime companies work in the UAE, with more than 17 million containers handled at the country’ ports each year - achievements that “would not have been possible without the dedication of thousands of seafarers who arrive in the UAE waters on ships from all over the world”. The ministry said it is presenting a framework to provide seafarers comprehensive support, the impact of which will extend beyond the UAE to other parts of the world linked by the shipping sector. The key aspects of the initiative include “enhanced medical care, maritime education, training to build professional capabilities, as well as identifying and removing physical and social obstacles through effective cooperation between the public and private sectors”. “This promotes the idea of empowering our ‘Blue Army’, which aims to enhance the impact of qualified seafarers in the industry, to inspire the younger generations,” said the ministry. The Salmeen initiative will also make “all ship owners and maritime organisations responsible for supporting seafarers and providing them with full protection”. The ministry has put in place an ongoing monitoring system to ensure the implementation of its laws and initiatives, said Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure “When we talk about the UAE’s shipping sector, we must recognise the influential role the country plays in the global maritime industry. The UAE is one of the best maritime hubs globally. Therefore, we introduce initiatives, laws and legislations that can develop the sector based on best practices, while taking care of the seafarer community, who are key pillars of this industry, and help them overcome the challenges they face while performing their work,” Al Mazrouei said.