We are pleased to join other members of the international shipping industry in urging the United Nations to help evacuate 331 seafarers still trapped on vessels in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov.
In a joint letter of which we are signatory, 32 organisations have called on His Excellency António Guterres, United Nations Secretary General, to use his diplomatic influence, to address this matter urgently and evacuate all remaining seafarers and ships.
For our part, Stella Maris, through our chaplains in Odesa continue to provide pastoral and practical support to seafarers trapped in Ukraine. We recently resumed ship visits on board. For more details go here.
Here is the content of the letter.
20 February 2023
For the attention of His Excellency António Guterres
United Nations Secretary General
United Nations Headquarters
E 46th St & 1st Ave
New York 10017
United States of America
Joint open letter on seafarers still trapped in Ukraine
Re: Shipping industry call for help to evacuate the 300+ seafarers still trapped in Ukraine ports
Your Excellency Secretary-General Guterres,
As we approach one year since the start of the war in Ukraine, the co-signatories of this letter write
to you to highlight the 331 seafarers still trapped on vessels in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov. We call
on the United Nations, and on your diplomatic influence, to address this matter urgently and
evacuate all remaining seafarers and ships.
Our seafarers are the heart of our industry and cannot be forgotten. For 12 months now they have
been caught up in a crisis far beyond their control. Simply doing their jobs cannot come at the
expense of their lives.
We recognise and celebrate the United Nations, and your leadership, for the Black Sea Grain
Initiative that the UN successfully brokered with Türkiye between Ukraine and Russia. This has
allowed safe passage of critical grain and fertiliser shipments from Ukraine to populations most in
need, and curbed food prices from spiralling out of control. We are committed to supporting the
continued success of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, however this cannot come at the expense of
innocent seafarers’ lives. Action must be taken now.
Without our seafarers, movement of the vital grain shipments out of Ukrainian ports would not have
been possible. While there are challenges to evacuating seafarers and their ships, it must
nonetheless be a top priority. Otherwise, we risk the lives of our seafarers, and this is unacceptable.
A copy of the letter with the full list of signatories to the letter can be found in this document.