Shipping industry calls for help to evacuate the 300+ seafarers still trapped in Ukraine ports

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On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, a group of some 35 international shipping associations and bodies wrote an open letter to His Excellency António Guterres, United Nations (UN) Secretary General.

The letter requested the urgent help of the UN in facilitating the release of some 300+ seafarers still effectively trapped in Ukraine ports as a result of the conflict and read as follows:

Your Excellency Secretary-General Guterres,

As we approach one year since the start of the war in Ukraine, the co-signatories of this letter write to you to highlight the 331 seafarers still trapped on vessels in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov. We call on the United Nations, and on your diplomatic influence, to address this matter urgently and evacuate all remaining seafarers and ships.

Our seafarers are the heart of our industry and cannot be forgotten. For 12 months now they have been caught up in a crisis far beyond their control. Simply doing their jobs cannot come at the expense of their lives.

We recognise and celebrate the United Nations, and your leadership, for the Black Sea Grain Initiative that the UN successfully brokered with Türkiye between Ukraine and Russia. This has allowed safe passage of critical grain and fertiliser shipments from Ukraine to populations most in need, and curbed food prices from spiralling out of control. We are committed to supporting the continued success of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, however this cannot come at the expense of innocent seafarers’ lives. Action must be taken now.

Without our seafarers, movement of the vital grain shipments out of Ukrainian ports would not have been possible. While there are challenges to evacuating seafarers and their ships, it must nonetheless be a top priority. Otherwise, we risk the lives of our seafarers, and this is unacceptable.

Yours faithfully

(list of associations and signatories)

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