Ship manager V.Group has joined together with a group of maritime unions to coordinate the evacuation of seafarers and their families from the Ukrainian port of Odessa, which so far has staved off Russian ocupation.
The group, which includes the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and Marine Transport Workers’ Trade Union of Ukraine (MTWTU), along with V.Group, have put funding and resources in place to begin evacuations out of Ukraine to Romania and Poland.
Help is available for all Ukrainian seafarers and their families regardless of their employer or union affiliation, V.Group said in statement. They can stay at the accommodation for a week free of charge, giving them time to assess their situation and be provided on-site support.
“Russian and Ukrainian crew make up 15% of the global fleet supply and we remain concerned about the safety and wellbeing of all our colleagues and their families impacted by the crisis in the Ukraine,” said Allan Falkenberg, Chief Operating Officer at V.Group. “This is a fast-changing situation, and this initiative is one way we can play a role in helping families at the first stage of what will be an emotional and difficult journey.”
The ITF has provided initial funds of $200,000 to initiate the project and is working with the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, a charity which assists maritime workers and their families, while also coordinating with affiliated unions. It has also started a restricted fund to accept donations from the maritime industry, along with a call to the industry seeking support and funding to sustain the initiative.
The ITF’s local affiliate, the Marine Transport Workers’ Trade Union of Ukraine (MTWTU), is signing people up for evacuation and organizing assembly points.
Support in Romania and Poland will include help with communication and administration, medical and welfare assistance, help with planning onward journeys, and securing longer term accommodation.
“Our thoughts are with everyone caught up in this conflict,” said David Heindel, Chair of the ITF Seafarers’ Trust and Chair of the ITF Seafarers’ Section. “I hope that as our humanitarian efforts continue, we can persuade other companies to join in and contribute to funding.”
“Our aim with this humanitarian initiative is to get people to safety as quickly as possible,” said Oleg Grygoriuk, Chairman at MTWTU. “Applications are already being processed and our partner V.Group’s teams are in place at the destinations to support seafarers’ families as they plan their onward journeys. What we need now are contributions from the maritime industry to boost our funds and allow us to continue this initiative.”
Seafarers are encouraged to register at seafarer.help.
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