The Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) has joined hands with the Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA) to launch a marine agency to oversee wooden dhow ships and regulate all their activities while they are in Dubai waters.
The agency is an organisational unit managed by the PCFC and works according to regulations in coordination with the competent government authorities.
Dubai is a key destination for dhows carrying various types of merchandise and goods from several countries of Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region.
Each year, dhows transport over 720,000 tonnes of goods. The move also aims to consolidate the safety and security of dhows in Dubai waters.
PCFC Chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said: "Responsibilities of the marine agency will not be limited to following up on transactions and collecting fees."
"Its main responsibility will be to develop the current dhow trade sector by proposing legislations and regulations to develop their operations to gradually use electronic services and smart trade solutions to expedite the procedures," stated Bin Sulayem.
"The agency is also responsible for looking after the interests of the dhow owners and ensuring the safety, security and rights of seafarers while in Dubai," he added.
"The agency will also be responsible for protecting the rights of local dhow owners and taking care of foreign dhows. They will all have one point of contact to take care of their affairs and respond to their concerns to facilitate their business in Dubai," he added.
The Marine Agency will be the only entity responsible for dealing with dhows during their presence in Dubai waters. It will collect fees, wages and expenses due to the concerned government authorities from dhow owners or operators and pay them on their behalf.
The agency will also monitor seafarers’ work as dhows are docked at the ports and harbours until they depart. It will co-ordinate with the relevant government authorities on marine safety of dhows, and in case of any marine accidents or emergencies.
The agency will also collaborate with relevant government entities to facilitate its tasks and operations in Dubai waters, including the Dubai Police, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, Dubai Customs, Dubai Municipality, the Roads and Transport Authority, the General Authority of Ports, Borders and Free Zones Security, Coast Guard and the Dubai Civil Defence.
The new entity will also be responsible for forming joint task forces to deal with accidents, crises or disasters to ensure maritime safety of dhows in Dubai waters and improve the services offered to them.
The Marine Agency will help dhow owners develop their business by saving their time and reducing the number of transactions to clear their goods. It will also provide them with one point of contact, offering them multiple trade options such as long-term contract opportunities for their services, it stated.
All local and foreign dhow owners will have to register their ships with the agency and follow its rules for sailing and carrying out shipping and loading operations in Dubai ports, it added.-Trade|Arabia News Service