Seafarers Remain Trapped in Ukraine Ports

Seafarers Remain Trapped in Ukraine Ports

Sailor’s Wife Monument at the Ukrainian Port of Odessa

Some five hundred seafarers remain trapped in Ukraine awaiting evacuation. The seafarers are stranded aboard approximately 109 ships at Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, according to data gathered by the International Chamber of Shipping, and collated in association with the International Maritime Organization.

The number of stranded seafarers has decreased from 2000 measured approximately six weeks ago.

This week, the IMO adopted a resolution for actions to enable the prompt evacuation of all remaining seafarers from Ukrainian waters. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres yesterday called for an escape route from the Mariupol “apocalypse”.

The remaining 500 seafarers account for skeleton crews who remained on board to allow their fellow crew mates to be evacuated.

So far, 1500 seafarers have been safely evacuated from stranded vessels via humanitarian corridors on land and at sea, according to the ICS. These corridors comprised of evacuation flights and buses from ports. While some of the 1500 evacuated seafarers are still waiting for further transfer from shore locations within Ukraine, many have been fully repatriated home.

The International Labour Organization, the IMO, High Commissioner for Refugees and humanitarian organisations have co-ordinated deliveries of food, water and medicines to remaining crew, the ICS said. While some supplies have reached the intended recipients, delivering aid continues to be extremely difficult, particularly in high-risk areas.

According to the ICS, the affected seafarers, both the evacuated and those who remain onboard, are from 27 different countries, with the largest number from the Philippines and India. Other affected seafarer nationalities include Ukrainian, Russian, Chinese, Danish, Greek, and Turkish.

ICS data indicates that most of the 109 stranded vessels are either bulk carriers (42) or general cargo vessels (38). Other vessels include oil tankers, chemical tankers, tugs, ro-ro cargo, an ice breaker and motor hoppers.

ICS director of employment affairs Natalie Shaw said it was a relief that around 1500 seafarers have already been removed from danger.

“Our focus is on those still onboard. We will continue to do all we can to facilitate their safe passage out of the affected areas and, in the meantime, work with aid agencies to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid to those still affected,” she said.

“Open dialogue made these rescue missions possible; we’re calling for continued communication and co-operation. We commend the rescue effort taken by flag states, port states, and labour supply states, as well as governments, shipowners, unions, international aid agencies, and seafarer charities.”