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Main » 2023 » February » 27 » International Chamber of Shipping: Shipping community calls on UN to urgently evacuate seafarers trapped in Ukrainian ports
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International Chamber of Shipping: Shipping community calls on UN to urgently evacuate seafarers trapped in Ukrainian ports

(BUSINESS WIRE) -- The world’s leading maritime organisations and companies have released an open letter calling on United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to urgently prioritise the evacuation of 331 seafarers and 62 ships that remain trapped in Ukrainian ports.

The 34 signatories, including the International Chamber of Shipping, NKY Line, the Union of Greek Shipowners, Danish Shipping, and seafarer charities, called the situation an ‘unacceptable risk to life.’

In February 2022, 112 vessels crewed by more than 2,000 seafarers were berthed in Ukranian ports across the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Since then, 1,700 have been safely evacuated and have been able to return to their families or return to their work of keeping global trade flowing.

The remaining 331 seafarers from countries such as Bangladesh, Philippines, Turkey, Syria, China, Egypt, Lebanon, Greece, Indonesia, Ghana, India, Azerbaijan and Georgia, remain to maintain the safety and protect against environmental harm. No other industry have non-combatants in the area over a year on from the start of the conflict, as they can only leave when the ships leave.

Some of the ports where these seafarers remain have resumed operability, facilitating the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Shipping has been integral in carrying out this UN-brokered humanitarian effort, with crews sailing along the borders of the conflict zone to ensure the world continues to receive vital grain deliveries. However, ships who are not able to transport grain are excluded and remain trapped.

Since the onset of the war, shipping companies, charities, and unions have continually called for the safe and immediate evacuation of the trapped seafarers. They have also worked in coordination with international organisations to facilitate the evacuation effort, supported the trapped seafarers’ families, and provided the seafarers with provisions including food, clean water, and medical supplies.

To mark the one-year anniversary of the war in Ukraine, the shipping community sent this open letter to UNSG Guterres, calling on him to use his diplomatic abilities to evacuate the remaining seafarers ships.

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Notes to editors:

About ICS

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) is the principal international trade association for merchant shipowners and operators, representing all sectors and trades and over 80% of the world merchant fleet.


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Katerina Dimitropoulos, Communications Manager, ICS / +44 7494 363434

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