Salva, a UAE-based perfume label unveiled their new fragrance named “Hope” dedicated to the efforts and the ceaseless work of seafarers. Through this initiative, the brand aims to spread awareness about the plight of seafarers around the world and offer support to them. 50 per cent from the sales of the fragrance will be utilised to aid seafarers with the “hope” of making their lives better and their future brighter.
Her Excellency Eng. Hessa Al Malek, President of Arab Women in Maritime Association (AWIMA) and Founder of Salva, joined hands with Marasi News, one of the first specialised maritime magazines and portals in the UAE for this initiative that she is a staunch supporter of.
A ray of hope
The seafarer crisis has always been a cause for concern in the maritime industry. The COVID-19 crisis has only amplified the challenges seafarers face, making this grave issue a humanitarian crisis. In the early months of 2020, the news of stranded cruise ships became a commonly heard of event with seafarers being the most impacted group of maritime professionals. In June this year, the number of stranded seafarers was estimated to be 150,000. By September, this figure rose to 400,000.
Apart from the challenges that arose during the pandemic, over the years, seafarers have dealt with issues including delayed crew changes, strenuous work and extended work hours, at times even being stranded at sea for days. Maritime piracy, unpredictable weather conditions and difficult work environments are also some primary concerns.
Her Excellency Eng. Hessa Al Malek, Founder of Salva and President of AWIMA said, “Approximately 80 per cent of world trade by volume is carried out by the maritime industry and at the helm of this crucial job is the army of seafarers, who are a significant part of the global maritime industry. Despite them being professionals who are critical to the operations in the industry, there is a long way to go in terms of safeguarding their interests. The concerted efforts of The International Maritime Organization, the United Nations General Assembly, the International Labour Organization and governments around the world are helping in a big way. Their call to designate seafarers and marine professionals as key workers is noteworthy. In spite of all this and more, it is also our responsibility at a personal level as maritime professionals to support seafarers.”
“Working at sea is definitely not an easy job. It requires physical and mental prowess. For me, seafarers are undoubtedly the unsung heroes of the maritime industry, and this is not only limited to the pandemic, but also in the pre-COVID world and the post-COVID era. It is an honour to be able to do something for the benefit of this group of professionals. I can proudly say that “Hope” is one of the first “Made in the UAE” products dedicated to seafarers around the globe. I am confident that this endeavour will help to attract the attention of the world to the problems that these warriors face day in and day out,” she added.
A local initiative
Through this collaboration that is one of the few Emirati initiatives to back this cause, Al Malek hopes to draw the attention of the world to the hardships that seafarers face. She is confident that her association with Marasi News, a UAE-based maritime magazine and portal that has constantly highlighted the troubles that seafarers go through, will amplify this cause and garner the support of key leaders and influential names from the maritime industry in the UAE and the Middle East region.
Effat Mostafa, Managing Editor, Marasi News said, “We are extremely proud to support an Emirati initiative that will, in the long run, make a mark on the shipping industry. Her Excellency Eng. Hessa Al Malek has never shied away from showing her support for the right causes. Our mission to shed light on the problems that seafarers face aligns with her goal to better their lives. This couldn’t be a better opportunity for us to be associated with such a noble cause.”
“These sea warriors silently worked even during the global pandemic, ensuring the uninterrupted transportation of essentials including medical supplies and food. They worked ceaselessly, overcoming all the roadblocks that came their way. I would like to take this opportunity to commend their efforts and this endeavour is our way of thanking them for their tireless work,” she said.
Al Malek added, “I am glad to have Marasi News on board to help me in my attempt to improve the lives of seafarers. This effort showcases our ongoing endeavours to support a significant sector that contributes in a major way to economies around the world. My commitment to this cause is a way to spread hope and positivity and bring about a change in the lives of seafarers who often live lonely and dangerous lives.”
The global pandemic has only worsened the status of seafarers, making them collateral victims of the crisis with some of them having spent up to 17 months at high sea. Travel restrictions and lockdowns left thousands of them stranded at sea and many more without jobs. Through Hope, Eng. Al Malek aims to set an example for others in the industry to follow.