Officials from the shipping industry called on Thursday for safe passage for more than hundreds of seafarers and vessels stuck in Ukraine following the Russian invasion. Ukrainian maritime officials have informed Reuters that there are about 100 foreign-flagged vessels and more than hundreds of mariners stranded in the Ukrainian ports owing to the war.
A seafarer was reportedly killed at the port of Olvia last week after his cargo vessel was hit by a missile. In recent times, four more vessels have also been hit by projectiles and one eventually sank. Russia’s military had taken control of water channels in the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea since when it invaded on 24 February, in what Moscow refers to as a “special operation.”
Ukraine accused Russia’s military of targeting facilities at the Olvia port in a missile strike, while the Russian embassy in Dhaka informed that the circumstances were “being established.” Russia denies targeting civilians deliberately.
A shipping association named INTERCARGO said a safe and secure maritime corridor was essential to permit ships to sail out of the war area. At the same time, secure land routes are needed to get crew members on vessels that have to sail. INTERCARGO added that the majority of the trapped vessels were bulkers loaded with essential grain cargoes, like corn and wheat, and coal cargoes to meet their energy needs.
The IMO and the UN shipping agency, have decided to do an emergency meeting virtually on Thursday and Friday for discussing the worsening situation.