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Urgent call for seafarer protection

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) have made another plea for the protection of seafarers stranded in Ukraine

This is the sixth, going on seventh, week of the Ukraine crisis. Since the start of the crisis on 24 February, about 1,000 seafarers from all parts of the world have been stranded at different ports of Ukraine, as well as vessels anchored near the ports.

According to reports, the seafarers are stuck in a troubling situation. Besides having to keep cautious watch over flying bombardment, they are also watching their remaining onboard supplies, such as food, water, fuel and other essential items, diminish before their eyes. The worsening situation in Ukraine also does not bode well for them, as Ukraine struggles to stay afloat and resolve the crisis, replenishing supplies for seafarers are way down the to-do list.

Unimaginable horror for seafarers
For seafarers outside of the conflict zone, it may be hard to imagine the conditions and palpable fear that seafarers stuck within Ukraine feel on a daily basis. The situation has become so dire that maritime organizations, such as the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the ILO and the IMO, has made repeated pleas to both sides of the conflict to ensure the safety of seafarers stuck in the region.

Unfortunately, while pleas can be made, bombs and shelling do not have compassion. Based on the latest updates of merchant vessels being attacked, a Dominican-flagged vessel was hit by shelling on 5 April that resulted in a fire in the engine room and the injury of a seafarer. Since the start of the crisis, numerous merchant vessels have reportedly been hit by missiles or was caught in the crossfire.

While maritime organisations have made attempts to evacuate seafarers, getting the 1,000 seafarers out is not easy. Russia had offered a blue corridor, but it did not receive much response due to the mines floating in the waters.

It remains to be seen what could be done for seafarers in Ukraine. But it is clear that if no decisive action is taken or if the conflict is resolved soon, the mental health of seafarers trapped in Ukraine will not hold on for much longer.


Crewing Online Media Team
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