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Dubai launches marine agency to regulate, promote dhow sector

Dubai launches marine agency to regulate, promote dhow sector

The agency will be the only entity responsible for dealing with dhows during their presence in Dubai waters

The Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) has launched the Marine Agency to regulate the dhow sector and strengthen Dubai’s trade environment, it was announced on Saturday, July 4.

The Marine Agency, launched in cooperation with Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA), will be the only entity responsible for dealing with dhows during their presence in Dubai waters, and to consolidate their safety and security.

It will collect fees, wages and expenses due to concerned government authorities from dhow owners or operators and pay them on their behalf. It will also monitor seafarers’ work as dhows are docked at the ports and harbours until they depart.

Additionally, the agency will coordinate with the relevant government authorities on marine safety of dhows, and to facilitate its tasks and operations in Dubai waters, including 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 agency is also responsible for forming joint task forces to deal with accidents, crises or disasters to ensure maritime safety of dhows in Dubai waters and improve services. It will also ensure that dhows comply with the safety and security requirements and that seafarers have all firefighting equipment and rescue tools.

Furthermore, the agency aims to assist dhow owners develop their business by reducing time and the number of transactions to clear their goods. It will offer a one point of contact, granting them multiple trade options such as long-term contract opportunities for their services. All local and foreign dhow owners will have to register their ships with the agency and follow its rules for sailing, as well as shipping and loading operations in Dubai ports.

Meanwhile, the agency will implement transparency of service fee applicable to local traders, and will be responsible for services including cargo handling, ensuring goods safety and damage control during discharge/loading, berth booking, etc.

Dubai is a key destination for dhow ships carrying various types of merchandise and goods from several MENA region countries. Each year, dhows transport over 720,000 tonnes of goods.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem chairman of the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation said: “Responsibilities of the Marine Agency will not be limited to following up on transactions and collecting fees. Rather, 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. 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.”

“At PCFC, we are reviving and strengthening this sector by establishing the Marine Agency, which will facilitate entry and exit of dhows and their crew as well as complete their procedures at the competent government authorities. 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,” added Bin Sulayem.

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