Maritime industry helps Ukrainian seafarers, families evacuating Odessa

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), Marine Transport Workers’ Trade Union of Ukraine (MTWTU) and global ship manager V.Group have come together to provide passage out of the country, and safe accommodation in Romania and Poland for Ukrainian seafarers and their families.  

Help is available for all Ukrainian seafarers and their families regardless of their employer or union affiliation. They can stay at the accommodation for a week free of charge, giving them time to assess their situation and for the group to provide onsite support with their journey onwards.

The ITF has provided initial funds of US$200,000 to start the project and is working with the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, a charity which assists maritime workers and their families, and coordinating with affiliated unions. 

The ITF has enabled a restricted fund to accept donations from the maritime industry and is calling out to the industry to seek support and funding to sustain this 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. 

V.Group is coordinating accommodation in Romania and Poland and providing onsite support. This support will include help with communication and administration, medical and welfare assistance and 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.”

Allan Falkenberg, Chief Operating Officer, V.Group, said: “Russian and Ukrainian crew make up 15 per cent 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. 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.  

“We already work closely with ITF and have worked together in a fast and pragmatic way to get this project off the ground. We want to use our global scale and resources to help as many families as possible.

“By collaborating with industry partners, we can amplify the impact of our project and ensure that it continues to operate for as long as it is needed. We’re now calling for more companies in the maritime industry to offer their support.”

Photo credit: iStock/ MarianVejcik

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