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Joint open letter on seafarers still trapped in Ukraine

20 February 2023

In just a few days, on 24 February 2023, will mark one year since the onset of the war in Ukraine. The International Chamber of Shipping, in collaboration with over 30 other organisations and companies, have written a joint open letter urgently calling on the UN Secretary General – His Excellency António Guterres – to prioritise the immediate release of the 331 seafarers and 62 ships that remain trapped in Ukrainian ports.

Read the joint industry open letter below and attached here.


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.

Yours faithfully,

Please kindly see below the full list of signatories to the letter.


Armateurs de France – Mr. Jean-Emmanuel Sauvée, Chairman

Bahamas Shipowners Association – Mr. John Adams, Chairman

BIMCO – Mr.David Loosley, Secretary General & CEO

CONFIRTAMA – Italian Shipowners’ Association – Mr. Mario Mattioli, President of Italian Shipowners’ Association

Cyprus Shipping Chamber – Mr. Thomas A. Kazakos, Director General

Daiichi Chuo Kisen Kaisha – Mr. Masaharu Kurosawa, Representative Director, President Executive Officer

Danish Shipping – Ms. Anne H.Steffensen, Director General and CEO

European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) – Mr. Sotiris Raptis, Secretary General

FONASBA – Mr. Jonathan C.Williams FICS, General Manager

IINO KAIUN KAISHA, LTD. (IINO LINES) – Mr. Hiromi Tosha, President and Representative Director

INTERCARGO – Dr. Kostas G. Gkonis, CEO

InterManager – Capt. Kuba Szymanski, Secretary General

International Chamber of Shipping – Mr. Emanuele Grimaldi, Chairman

International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA) – Mr. Jason Zuidema, General Secretary

International Federation of Shipmasters’ Associations (IFSMA) – Mr. Jim Scorer, Secretary General

International Maritime Employers’ Council Ltd. (IMEC) – Mr. Francesco Gargiulo, Chief Executive Officer

International Maritime Health Association (IMHA) – Dr. Robert Verbist, President


International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) – Mr. Simon Grainge, Chief Executive

International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) – Mr. Lars Lange, Secretary General

INTERTANKO – Dr. Phillip Belcher, Marine Director

Japanese Shipowners’ Association – Mr. Junichiro Ikeda, President

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Ltd. (“K” LINE) – Mr. Yukikazu Myochin, Representative Director, President and Chief Executive Officer

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Ltd. – Mr. Takeshi Hashimoto, Representative Director, President, Chief Executive Officer

Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line) – Mr. Hitoshi Nagasawa, President, Representative Director, President and Chief Executive Officer

RightShip – Mr. Steen Lund, CEO

Sailors’ Society – Ms. Sara Baade, CEO

Seafarers Hospital Society – Ms. Sandra Welch, CEO

Stella Maris – Mr. Martin Foley, Chief Executive Officer/European Regional Coordinator

Synergy Denmark A/S – Mr. Tommy Thomassen, COO

The Mission to Seafarers – Mr. Andrew Wright, Secretary General

The Seafarers’ Charity – Ms. Deborah Layde, Chief Executive

UK Chamber of Shipping – Ms. Sarah Treseder, CEO

Union of Greek Shipowners – Ms. Melina Travlos, President

Verband Deutscher Reeder (VDR) – Dr. Gaby Bornheim, President & Dr. Martin Kröger, CEO


CC: His Excellency Kitack Lim
Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization
4 Albert Embankment
London SE1 7SR
United Kingdom

CC: His Excellency Gilbert F. Houngbo
Director-General of the International Labour Organization
4 route des Morillons
Genève 22


International Chamber of Shipping
7th Floor
Walsingham House
35 Seething Lane
London EC3N 4AH
Tel: +44 (0)20 7090 1460