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Setbacks in crewing over Ukraine-Russia Crisis

The escalation of the crisis in Ukraine affects not just supply chains and companies, but seafarers as well

Based on the Seafarer Workforce Report by BIMCO and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), there are about 1.89 million seafarers working in the global merchant fleet. Of these 1.89 million seafarers, 14.5% are Russians (10.5%) and Ukrainians (4%) and the two countries make up the fourth and fifth countries who supply the most seafarers respectively. To ensure the continuation of supply chains, the supply of seafarers cannot be broken.

Following the operation by Russia, majority of ports in Ukraine has been shut down. Now, maritime security consultancy Dryad Global has advised commercial operators to avoid transit or operations near Ukraine or Russia in the Black Sea. Maersk has already decided not to call at any ports in Ukraine and will stop accepting orders to and from the country as well, their local office has also been shut down. Another shipping giant Hapag-Llyod has shut down their local office in Ukraine too.

Seafarers just want to get on with the job
V.Group, one of the world’s largest ship management companies, employs about 90 Ukrainians and Russians among its 180 officers. There have been worries within the company about the Ukrainian situation, for the officers and the wellbeing of their families. But according to Franck Kayser, Managing Director of Dania Ship Management, a subsidiary of V.Group, all their Ukrainian and Russian crews are at sea and they work together without any issues and the conflict is not reflected in their teamwork.

The Secretary General of the ICS Guy Platten has urged for the resolution of the crisis, so that seafarers would not pay the price for the crisis, “The safety of our seafarers is our absolute priority. We call on all parties to ensure that seafarers do not become the collateral damage in any actions that governments or others may take. Seafarers have been at the forefront of keeping trade flowing through the pandemic and we hope that all parties will continue to facilitate free passage of goods and these key workers at this time.”

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