V.Group has requested NATO to provide naval escorts for shipping in the Black Sea, due to concerns that vessels could be at risk, because of the conflict in Ukraine, according to the Financial Times. However, the inquiry was rejected by NATO.
ore specifically, the CEO of V.Group, René Kofod-Olsen, Financial Times that NATO intervention is necessary due to the area’s importance for shipments of food. What is more, the conflict in Ukraine has made the northernmost third of the Black Sea unsafe for shipping.
According to NATO, floating mines have been discovered and deactivated in the Western Black Sea by authorities of countries that border the waterway. NATO added that “threat of collateral damage or direct hits on civilian shipping” in part of the Black Sea remains high.
However, NATO has not approved V.Group’s request, the FT reports.
Recently, IMO agreed to encourage the establishment of a blue safe maritime corridor to allow the safe evacuation of seafarers and ships from the high-risk and affected areas in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov to a safe place in order to protect the life of seafarers, ensure the mobilization and commercial navigation of vessels intending to use this corridor by avoiding military attacks and protecting and securing the maritime domain.
Proposal to support seafarers
The Council welcomed the proposal that a number of steps should be taken to reduce the suffering of seafarers and their families, as follows:
- A priority, ships should be allowed to sail form the ports of Ukraine at the earliest opportunity without threat of attack;
- For those ships that cannot leave immediately, or where it would be unsafe to do so due to the presence of sea mines or other hazards, humanitarian corridors should be set up that enable the safety of seafarers by allowing them to leave the conflict zone and return home, as appropriate;
- Any form of harassment of seafarers due to their nationality should be condemned;
- Seafarers affected by the conflict should be allowed free access to communications with their families;
- States should ensure that seafarers are able to access their wages;
- States should acknowledge the key worker status of seafarers and allow their unrestricted movement;
- Taking into account the key worker status of seafarers, States involved should strongly consider exempting their seafarers from mandatory military service;
- Where port State control officers are presented with expired documentation, a pragmatic approach to the inspection should be taken, considering the exceptional nature of the situation.