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Abu Dhabi Ports’ “Horns of Hope” Solidarity Initiative Inspires Global Maritime Authorities to Follow Suit


April 22, 2020

  • European and Middle Eastern Ports Have Joined Efforts to Support Maritime, Healthcare and Critical Sector Personnel Battling COVID-19

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 22 April 2020:  Recognising the need for solidarity in times of crisis, global ports have joined together under the banner of Abu Dhabi Ports’ “Horns of Hope” initiative to show support for those engaged on the front lines with the coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative calls on all ships in harbours around the world to sound their horns in 15-second bursts each evening, in recognition of the efforts of maritime, healthcare, and critical sector personnel, who are working diligently to ensure their respective communities remain safe and healthy.

Similar efforts have been observed in a number of ports across Europe, such as the Port of Antwerp, Rotterdam, Vauban, Monaco, and Barcelona, in addition to Ports in Germany.

In the MENA region, the long list of “Horns of Hope” participants — in addition to Abu Dhabi Ports’ maritime localities — includes Jebel Ali Port, Ajman Port, Jizan Port, Shuaiba Port, as well as Khalifa bin Salman Port in Bahrain. Egypt’s Port of Alexandria, Iraq’s Khor Al Zubair Port, the Port of Tripoli in Lebanon, along with Suez’s Al Ain Alsokhna, Adabiya, and East and West Port Said, have also joined the daily activity.

H.E. Dr. Abdullah Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development and Chairman of the Federal Transport Authority – Land & Maritime (FTA), said: “The Horns of Hope initiative has given people across the region and around the world daily affirmation that all communities are standing together to overcome the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The persistence and dedication of frontline workers inspires all of us to fight, each on his own front.  Even as life as we know it has been brought to a halt by the pandemic, the courage and exemplary commitment of medical teams, port workers, police forces, and countless other essential workers has meant that food, medical care, and all other necessities are still widely available to us.

“For this reason, we will continue to sound the horns each evening in honour of their sacrifice, thank the world’s ports that have joined our effort, and welcome more ports to join us.”

Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization, said: “As the world’s standard-setting organisation for the shipping industry, it is heartening to see the Horns of Hope solidarity campaign begun by the UAE has been so enthusiastically adopted by global ports.

“Those who work in shipping to keep the sea lines open for the world are to be admired and respected for their daily selfless acts of courage in the face of adversity and challenge. We are grateful and continue to applaud our members for their support of the Horns of Hope campaign.”

Engineer Yehia Zaki, Chairman of the General Authority for Suez Canal Economic Zone, said: “Ports and waterways are among the most strategically important trade assets in the world, and thus, must be kept open and operating. The ports of Suez Canal Economic Zone at East and West Port Said, Al Ain Alsokhna and Adabiya joined the UAE’s “Horns of Hope” solidarity campaign, as we give thanks and praise to the men and women who continue to work tirelessly across this vital sector. Their tireless efforts ensure that our ports, harbours, and waterways are not only open but are running safely and seamlessly, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19.”

Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Abu Dhabi Ports Group CEO, said: “When we first began the “Horns of Hope” initiative, our sole aim was to pay homage to the critical infrastructure and healthcare workers who are sacrificing so much to keep the rest of us safe and healthy in the face of this global pandemic.

“But to see this initiative moving now beyond the confines of the UAE and onto the world stage fills us with immense pride in our counterparts across the industry, who have joined us under this the banner of unity and solidarity.

“And while the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we, together with the rest of the maritime industry and government authorities, will continue our efforts to drive business continuity, and ensure the transport of critical supplies and cargo remains unhindered.”

The momentum behind the initiative has continued to pick up pace following an official commitment by both the Arab Sea Ports Federation and the International Maritime Organisation, which includes representatives from 174 United Nations member states.

Serving as one of the few industries still active after COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic, the world’s maritime sector is playing a vital role in ensuring supply lines remain open and life-sustaining cargo is delivered safely and on-time.

Abu Dhabi Ports and other participating maritime authorities of the “Horns of Hope” campaign will continue to sound their horns daily at 18:30 until the COVID-19 crisis comes to a close.