UK transport support package for Ukraine includes seafarer training


A new package of UK support, announced by the Transport Secretary this week (21 June), will help Ukraine’s transport system recover from Russia’s illegal invasion.

With access to Ukrainian ports limited due to Putin’s aggression, the UK Government will fund cutting-edge virtual reality training for seafarers in Ukraine. Virtual reality, provided through VR headsets, may be used in maritime training to enable cadets to practice real-life scenarios at sea.

In addition, Ukrainians will be sponsored to take on 3-year cadetships in the UK, benefiting from the country’s globally renowned maritime training to become officers on large vessels like container ships.

The support – welcomed by the Ukrainian Minister for Infrastructure at a bilateral meeting with the Transport Secretary at the Department for Transport on Tuesday – will help protect Ukraine’s seafaring sector, which is valued around the world and plays a pivotal role for grain exports and the wider Ukrainian and global economy.

Similarly, with Ukraine’s skies closed to commercial aircraft, DfT funding will support secondments for Ukrainian Air Traffic Controllers to maintain their skills and training in the UK. This will mitigate the potential long-term impacts of the war on the country’s aviation sector, which the UK has already provided £3.7m to help sustain.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper (pictured, centre) said: “Our support for Ukraine and its people is unwavering, and we’re not going to let Russia’s abhorrent actions sink Ukraine’s great reputation in areas like seafaring.

“By sharing the UK’s world-renowned expertise in aviation and seafaring, we are steadfast in our commitment to ensuring Ukraine’s transport system recovers from Putin’s illegal invasion.”

Speaking at the Ukraine Recovery Conference in London today, the Transport Secretary urged the private sector to consider how they could be part of the historic work of rebuilding a free Ukraine after this conflict.

The Department for Transport’s previous £10m aid for Ukraine’s rail infrastructure has now seen a crucial railway bridge repaired, with several more pre-pack bridges delivered from the UK, alongside hundreds of pieces of essential tools, equipment and materials, including six JCBs which have already been put to use.

Numerous Ukrainian engineers were trained in the UK in the use of the equipment so it could be rapidly deployed on Ukraine’s rail network, which has remained a critical lifeline for the military effort and its grain exports, as well as for evacuees.

The Department has also taken steps to support Ukrainian refugees in the UK. Last week, Roads Minister Richard Holden laid a Statutory Instrument to extend how long Ukrainians can drive in Great Britain on their home country driving licence, helping them work and go about their daily lives.

This funding follows a major package of support announced by the Prime Minister this morning, including $3billion of loan guarantees and a further £240million of bilateral assistance for humanitarian, recovery and reform programmes.