IMO Secretary-General Statement

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On the one-year anniversary of the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim issued a statement saying that the IMO Membership and he personally remain deeply concerned about the ships and most importantly the seafarers that remain stranded in Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov since 24 February 2022.

He stated: “At the start of this military conflict, some 2,000 seafarers were suddenly stranded in the affected area, on board more than 90 vessels. With the best efforts of all stakeholders, this number was reduced significantly, however over 300 seafarers and 60 ships remain stranded.

“In the last 12 months, IMO has made immense efforts and provided extensive support towards UN-wide initiatives to resolve the situation with regard to stranded ships and seafarers.

“As one of the major results, the agreement on the Black Sea Grain Initiative established a maritime corridor that allowed ships to export grain and related foodstuffs from Ukraine, with the aim of addressing global food insecurity. We are committed to continually providing every support needed to ensure the continued success of this vital initiative.

“I am actively pursuing, in close collaboration with the relevant Member States, all avenues to facilitate negotiations with the key stakeholders in the region to allow for the safe departure of the stranded vessels and seafarers. I remain hopeful that with this enduring will for cooperation and communication, we will be able to facilitate the safe departure of the remaining ships and seafarers as soon as possible.”

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