From the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), to which the SIU is affiliated. SIU Secretary-Treasurer David Heindel, quoted in the article, also serves as Chair of the ITF Seafarers’ Section.
Industry coordinates to help Ukrainian seafarers and their families evacuating Odessa
A number of maritime industry players have come together to provide safe and secure accommodation in Romania and Poland for Ukrainian seafarers and their families.
The group – the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), the Marine Transport Workers’ Trade Union of Ukraine (MTWTU) and global ship manager V.Group – have put funding and organisation in place to get Ukrainian seafarers families out of the country to accommodation in neighbouring Romania and Poland. 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 generously provided initial funds of US$200,000 to initiate the project and is working with the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, a charity which assists maritime workers and their families, and coordinating with affiliated unions. It has enabled a restricted fund to accept donations from the maritime industry. The group 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 organising assembly points. Seafarers are encouraged to register at seafarer.help.
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.”
“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.”
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.”
Arrangements are already in place for evacuation from Odessa and anyone who wants to be included should register at the website www.seafarer.help
- Companies wishing to contribute to this initiative should contact Rumana Akther ([email protected]) at ITF Seafarers’ Trust, or Allan Falkenberg ([email protected]) at V.Group.
About the partners:
- The ITF Seafarers’ Trust is a UK charity established in 1981, funding programmes that advance the wellbeing of maritime workers, seafarers and their families. It is funded by the Trust’s own capital, and by the investment income of the Welfare Fund at the International Transport Workers Federation.
- The Marine Transport Workers’ Trade Union of Ukraine unites more than 80,000 members including seafarers and port workers.
- V.Group is a leading global ship management and marine services provider, with 2,750 colleagues based across 60 offices globally, supporting over 44,000 personnel in marine and offshore roles.
- The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) is a democratic, affiliate-led federation of transport workers’ unions recognised as the world’s leading transport authority. We fight passionately to improve working lives; connecting trade unions and workers’ networks from 147 countries to secure rights, equality and justice for their members. We are the voice of the almost-20 million women and men who move the world.