The concerns over seafarer’s well-being have been discussed in a webinar, yesterday, among industry experts. An ICS & ITF briefing on the Ukraine crisis gave a clear picture of the whole situation affecting the seafarers and their families across the maritime industry.
to create a safe maritime corridor for those merchant ships and crews stuck in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov.s mentioned, Ukrainian and Russian seafarers make up of 40.5% of the world’s 1.8 million seafarers about 10% are Russian 4.5% Ukrainian. Currently, a huge concern for everyone in the industry is to look after the health and welfare onboard crew members who remain stranded at sea due to the war. Ιn this context, IMO has recently announced that it will work
In particular, it is crucial for them to be able to contact their families back home and to ensure the safety of their families as well. The sanctions against Russia are already having an impact to seafarers. There is going be an impact on global supply chains, as well.
As informed in the webinar, there have been heard reports of harassment of seafarers of different nationalities. It crucial to condemn all sorts of harassment on seafarers who are going about their duties. Additionally, there have been reports that the safety training has been withdrawn for Russian seafarers; thus it is of outmost importance to keep the ships safe.
Stephen Cotton, General Secretary ITF, said there were “high levels of anxiety” among foreign crews as supplies dwindle. Mr. Cotton mentioned that a crucial issue is the exodus of their families across the border and the sheer chaos to make sure they’re okay. There have been a number of conversations with seafarers and other Ukrainian transport workers “trying to get confirmation that their families, their loved ones, mothers, daughters, wives Children are in safe spaces in the surrounding countries.”
“We have to recognize there is competition for food depending on which ports you are in on the coast. It is literally a matter of life and death for some Ukrainians still locked in defending their cities,” Mr. Cotton said. “You can imagine the first thought is not to resupply ships with foreign nationals at anchor.”, he added.
The seafarers are very anxious about their families, the situation in their homeland. Many countries are refusing to accept Russian owned ships, which is also having an impact on them and their ability to function as a labor supply in the market. It was stressed that at this point there are over 100 foreign flagged ships stuck in Ukraine due to the conflict. But there are still around 140 foreign flagged vessels with over 1,000 mariners from 20 countries that are unable to leave because of the conflict.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Guy Platten, Secretary-General, ICS informed that one Romanian ship with 20 seafarers on board at port in Mariupol has just three days of food supplies left, being impossible for them to sail and unsafe to leave the ship.
There are concerns that the ships will stop getting fuels and they will not be able to keep their generators going. But the reality is much more difficult when it comes to supplies, when the Ukrainians themselves are frankly being starved out or isolated. For this reason, there has been a lot of work there to make sure there’s actual support for phone cards, materials, life’s essentials. The officials also discussed about a fatality that happened during this period and the dangerous situation to which seafarers are caught up to. For this reason, it is considered to be dangerous to get the crews out of ships.
Concerning the running out of supplies, it was discussed that there is a collaboration with some organizations in order to address this unfortunate situation and potentially help the shortages. Everyone is trying to avoid the worst case scenario, but the longer this conflict goes on, it’s inevitable that there is a shortage of supply chain and no one is sure what will happen. In certain parts of the country, it is very difficult to get supplies in, officials concluded.