Situation ‘dire’ for stranded merchant fleet caught in Ukraine war

More than 1,000 merchant sailors are stranded in the Sea of Azov as Russia’s war in Ukraine rages round them, transport officers stated Thursday.

The sailors are connected to some 140 ships and characterize 20 totally different nationalities, Seatrade Maritime News reported.

“We know of one remaining ship with 20 seafarers on board which has just three days of supplies left and it’s unsafe for them to leave the ship or for the ship to sail,” stated Guy Platten, secretary-general of the International Chamber of Shipping.

Stephen Cotton, common secretary of the International Transport Workers Federation — a union representing merchant sailors — described how there may be competitors for meals and known as the scenario “very dire,” particularly for ships nonetheless in Ukrainian ports.

“I think we have to recognize there’s competition for food depending on which ports you’re in and where you are on the coast,” he stated on a briefing name Thursday. “It is literally a matter of life and death for some of those Ukrainians still locked in defending their cities, and you can imagine that their first thought is not going to be to resupply ships or foreign nationals at anchor.”

ICS secretary general Guy Platten
Guy Platten says the International Chamber of Shipping is aware of of “one remaining ship with 20 seafarers on board which has just three days of supplies left.”
Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the International Transport Workers Federation -- a union representing merchant sailors -- described how there is competition for good and called the situation
Smoke billows from a hearth on a Russian ship, in line with the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense.
KIRILLOVKA.KS.UA through REUTERS

“We have got an agreement with the industry that we can send people home but at the moment, if you’re in the worst parts of war-torn Ukraine, there’s no ability to get off the vessels and move,” added Cotton.

Platten added that getting ships to security by means of the Sea of Azov would show troublesome, given the mines and sunken barges that litter the wartime ports.

“Until both countries, in particular Russia, agree to recognize that these foreign nationals are hostages to the situation, we can’t recommend they move, so they’re having to stay on board the vessel and then the challenge becomes about supplies,” Cotton stated.

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