The seafarer charity’s ‘Life at Sea report 2022: Amid Kindness and Conflict' highlighted the impact the war in Ukraine has had on the country’s seafarers and their families, as well as Russian seafarers and the shipping industry that employs them.
The report noted that one in seven international seafarers was either Russian or Ukrainian with some 77,000 Ukrainian seafarers. When conflict broke out many Ukrainian seafarers returned home to support their families and fight in the conflict, and now find themselves without work and their families facing “extreme financial hardship”.
“For the shipping industry, the number of Ukrainian seafarers has fallen by
19% since before the war. That, and the fact that a number of shipping firms are now reluctant to employ Russian nationals, has put a severe squeeze on the global workforce,” Stella Maris CEO Tim Hill MBE said in the report.
For Ukrainian seafarers who did not return home when war broke out they face a different set problems. “Meanwhile, Ukrainian seafarers who did not return home immediately are now trapped in a cycle of extended contracts. They’re tired and anxious, and in need of psychological and emotional support.”
Stella Maris’ Hill said, “From the day war broke out, Stella Maris has been on the ground supporting seafarers and their families facing an unprecedented crisis. Today, our team remain in the port city of Odesa, doing everything possible to stand with those who need help.”
Stella Maris has offered safe housing for Ukrainian refugees, delivered humanitarian relief, as well as helping to reuniting families. Over the last year working with the shipping industry the charity has so far proved £150,000 in grants to 300 Ukrainian seafarers and their families over the last year.
With no sign of an end to the conflict support for Ukrainian seafarers and their families remains a priority for Stella Maris.
Hill said: “As the conflict in Ukraine continues, there’s an urgent need to keep supporting seafarers. We are calling on the shipping industry to step up its support for Ukrainian seafarers and their families by partnering with Stella Maris in the coming year.
“By contributing to our Centenary Emergency Fund, supporting a seafarers’ counselling service and donating to the work of our team in Odesa, industry partners can show their commitment to Ukrainian seafarers – and demonstrate kindness amid conflict.”
Stella Maris plans to continue its work in supporting out of work seafarers and their families and grow its mental counselling service set up last year to provide relief from those suffering from mental trauma due to the war.