ILO and IMO call for urgent action for seafarers stranded in Ukraine following Russian aggression
In a joint letter addressed to the heads of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), to the Director-General of the ILO, Guy Ryder, and IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, describe the plight of seafarers on more than 100 commercial vessels that are unable to leave ports in Ukraine and nearby waters.
According to the IMO, up to 1,000 sailors are trapped, including in the besieged city of Mariupol and on ships in the Sea of Azov.
“In addition to the dangers posed by the shelling, many ships affected are now short of food, fuel, fresh water and other vital supplies. The situation of seafarers in many countries is therefore becoming increasingly untenable, presenting serious risks to their health and well-being.
The letter asks the three agencies to “take urgent action” to help resupply affected vessels with vital supplies needed by sailors on board.
The decision by the ILO and IMO follows urgent communications on the situation sent by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).
The ILO, IMO, ICS and ITF are working together to provide these relief agencies with information that can help them deal with this situation.
In March, the ILO Governing Body adopted a resolution calling on the Russian Federation to “immediately and unconditionally cease its aggression” against Ukraine.