The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), to which the SIU is affiliated, has issued the following news item, dated Feb. 23. ITF Seafarers’ Trust Chair David Heindel, quoted in the article, also serves as president of the SIU.
ITF Seafarers’ Trust pledges continued support for Ukrainian seafarers and their families a year after the invasion
The ITF Seafarers’ Trust has awarded a further humanitarian grant to Mortrans, the welfare arm of the Marine Transport Workers’ Union of Ukraine (MTWTU) for financial support for seafarers and their families in need during the ongoing conflict.
Trustees reaffirmed their long-term commitment to supporting Ukrainian seafarers, maritime workers and their families as the war enters its second year.
When Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, the Trust was swift to send an emergency grant for essential medical support for seafarers and their families caught up in the conflict. We followed up with a transportation project to enable families to make the hard decision to escape from danger and have some breathing space to decide on their future plans. The collaboration with MTWTU and V-ships allowed around 500 family members to travel to Romania and stay for a week in hotel accommodation with meals and advice provided. The Canada Steamship Line also contributed funds to this initiative.
As the dynamic situation changed on the ground, we moved to consider the prospects for Ukrainian cadets unable to complete their studies due to the war. We funded some 50 cadets to complete their studies at the Lithuanian Maritime Academy in a joint program with Kherson State Maritime Academy and covered debts and tuition fees of a further cohort of 32 cadets studying at Odesa Maritime Academy.
Today the conflict continues creating untold misery for the Ukrainian people as a whole and specific challenges for seafarers inside the country, unable to pursue their maritime careers and earn an income for their families.
David Heindel, Chair of the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, said, “It is vital to recognize the sustained economic and psychological damage caused by the acts of aggression against civilians and the country’s infrastructure. We must do all possible to support the fortitude and morale of the Ukrainian people. The Trust is on standby to support MTWTU in its tireless work to protect the livelihoods and wellbeing of the seafarers and their families.”
Katie Higginbottom, Head of the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, said, “Meeting the cadets in Klaipeda was a very sobering experience. These young people are just starting out on their adult lives with the ambition to have rewarding careers at sea and yet some had to leave behind families in the middle of a war zone and all had been stuck one way or another in limbo as their academy in Kherson was under occupation.”
Oleg Grygoriuk, Chairman of MTWTU, said, “We are proud to be part of an international family that trusts in us to deliver for our members and for all Ukrainian maritime workers. We are convinced that we will succeed in the end and emerge in a stronger position than ever before. We could not imagine that we would be at war in the 21st century but the world has seen the resilience of the Ukrainian people and we are counting on our friends to go the distance with us.”
About the ITF Seafarers’ Trust
The ITF Seafarers’ Trust is a UK charity established in 1981, which supports initiatives to advance the welfare and wellbeing of maritime workers, seafarers and their families. Our funding comes from the International Transport Workers’ Federation, a global federation of transport workers’ unions representing nearly 20 million members, and from our own investment income. https://www.seafarerstrust.org/about-the-trust/about-us
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