Ukraine: Hundreds of seafarers remain stuck in vessels across 9 ports because of ongoing war
Bridge Watch: Stranded Seafarers, 9 March 2023
...About 2,000 seafarers in 112 ships were berthed in Ukrainian ports across the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov before Russia’s invasion. After the war broke out, most crew were evacuated, but 331 seafarers remain stuck on 62 vessels across nine Ukrainian ports, including Mariupol and Odesa.
Dryad Global alongside other major shipping industry representatives, companies and maritime organisations are urging the UN secretary general to help evacuate hundreds of seafarers who have been trapped onboard vessels in Ukrainian ports for a year.
A combination of factors has left the 331 seafarers, which includes Russians and Ukrainians, trapped onboard their ships. The grain initiative allows the export of grain and other materials from just three of Ukraine’s 18 seaports. Ships that are unsuitable for carrying grain are not allowed to leave, but mines have been dropped around many of Ukraine’s ports – making movement impossible anyway.
Diplomacy can play an important role in helping stranded seafarers get out of Ukrainian ports by facilitating communication and coordination among governments, international organizations, and industry stakeholders.
One possible approach is for diplomatic channels to be used to encourage the Ukrainian government and other relevant authorities to take action to address the challenges faced by seafarers, including those who are stranded at ports. Diplomatic efforts can help to raise awareness of the situation and encourage local authorities to prioritize the issue, provide assistance and resources, and work with the maritime industry to find solutions...
Some of these initiatives include:
- Designation of seafarers as key workers: The UAE recognized seafarers as key workers, which allowed them to continue their work during the pandemic and ensured their access to essential services and resources.
- Establishment of a humanitarian corridor: The UAE, along with other countries, established a humanitarian corridor to facilitate the repatriation of seafarers stranded at sea due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
- Provision of medical care: The UAE provided medical care to seafarers in need, including those who tested positive for COVID-19, through its healthcare system and mobile clinics located in ports.
- Deployment of COVID-19 safety protocols: The UAE implemented strict COVID-19 safety protocols in its ports and airports to ensure the safety of seafarers and other workers.
- Partnership with international organizations: The UAE partnered with international organizations, such as the International Maritime Organization and the International Chamber of Shipping, to develop and implement strategies to support seafarers during the pandemic.
- Launch of seafarer welfare initiatives: The UAE launched several initiatives to improve the welfare of seafarers, including the creation of a dedicated welfare committee and the establishment of seafarer support centers in ports...