At this time, there are about 100 foreign-flagged vessels and more than hundreds of mariners stranded in the Ukrainian ports, according to Ukrainian maritime officials.
t the same time, projectiles have also hit four more vessels and one eventually sank. It should also be recalled that Russia had taken control of water channels in the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea since when it invaded on 24 February.
A seafarer was reportedly killed at the port of Olvia last week after his cargo vessel was hit by a missile. Ukraine accuses Russia of targeting facilities at the Olvia port in a missile strike. However, the Russian embassy in Dhaka informed that the circumstances were “being established” and that the military does not target civilians deliberately.
Meanwhile, fears continue to rise for the ships caught in the fighting in Ukraine, as reports from Bangladesh indicate that a third engineer was killed by an artillery or missile attack near Mykolaiv. The bulker Banglar Samriddhi was reported as stranded at the anchorage off the Port of Olvia, located in the Mykolaiv region on the northern Black Sea coast.
Reporting from the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority reported that the Panamanian flagged cargo vessel Helt has been struck whilst anchored 23nm ESE Odesa Port. According to Dryad Global, the vessel was fired upon and received a hole below the waterline, with images indicating an attack commensurate with a mine strike.
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, officials from the shipping industry called on Thursday for safe passage for more than hundreds of seafarers and vessels stuck in Ukraine.
It is worth mentioning that INTERCARGO is calling on the International Maritime Organization (IMO), member states and governments to engage effectively with the involved countries and local authorities to ensure safe passage out of danger for ships and their crews.
The vast majority of ships trapped off Ukraine are bulkers carrying essential grain cargoes, such as wheat and corn, and strategic coal cargoes required to meet energy needs.
INTERCARGO along with industry partners have cosponsored a paper submission to IMO on how seafarers’ safety, security, and welfare have been impacted. Pragmatic and concrete solutions are of outmost importance.
The association is grateful to crew nations, adjacent countries, port states and flag states for their ongoing support. However, more coordination is needed in order to ensure the safety of crews and ships.