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Tracking devices disabled for seafarer safety

Vessels were reportedly advised to turn off their tracking devices for security reasons

Ever since the conflict started, the people supporting the backbone of trade are collateral damage. It is fair to say seafarers are counting their days as they approach Ukrainian ports – experiencing the unspeakable anxiety onboard.

Seafarer rescue efforts
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) reported just under 500 seafarers remain sheltered and awaiting evacuation onboard 109 ships at Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, down from 2,000 in March 2022.

75 per cent of seafarers trapped in Ukrainian ports have now been evacuated from their stranded vessels, according to new data gathered by the International Chamber of Shipping, collated in association with the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The IMO just adopted a resolution on actions to facilitate the urgent evacuation of seafarers, while United Nations (UN) Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for an escape route from the Mariupol ‘apocalypse’

Promising progress
1,500 seafarers have been safely evacuated from stranded vessels via humanitarian corridors on land and at sea. They comprised of evacuation flights and buses from ports, organised by the maritime labour supply states of those affected. Some of the 1,500 are awaiting their further transfer from shore locations in Ukraine, and many have been fully repatriated home. ICS added 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.

While efforts are in place to supply essentials to stranded seafarers, having to turn off vessel tracking in the name of safety is telling. It subjects vessels to more scrutiny given some were reported to be “smuggling” Russian products. The ICS is urging the preservation of humanitarian corridors, until all remaining seafarers are safely evacuated. The remaining 500 account for skeleton crews who remained onboard to allow their fellow mates to be evacuated.

Crewing Online Media Team
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