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Ukraine: Support to Members and Seafarers
The situation between Russia and Ukraine has a profound impact on the maritime industry, on global trade, owners, charterers, and even seafarers.
The impact is deeply felt by Ukrainian and Russian seafarers, who make up 10.5% and 4% of seafarers respectively (BIMCO, 2021). Seafarers and their families are directly caught up in the war, facing serious danger and hardship. Those onboard vessels are deeply concerned about their families especially when contact is lost and there is no way to re-establish communication channels while at sea. Uncertainty in crew changes during this pandemic coupled with a lack of access to loved ones pushes the mental health of these seafarers to tipping point.
Standard Club's Ukraine working group
In response to this crisis, a working group with representatives from claims, underwriting, risk, compliance, sanctions, and finance has been established within Standard Club. This internal team will monitor the evolving situation in Ukraine with Russia, and its potential impact on members.
Members and brokers are advised to direct enquiries on cover, sanctions, and loss prevention to their usual club contact. The working group will log and coordinate responses to these enquiries to provide members and brokers with expert knowledge and reassurance.
The latest news, insights and sanctions updates on the Ukrainian conflict can also be found on the news page of the Standard Club website, under the dedicated topic Ukraine / Russia.
Standard Club’s Continued Commitment to Seafarer Wellbeing
Standard Club is closely monitoring the impact on seafarers’ mental health. In addition to the support offered by the working group, the club offers a range of resources focused on caring for the physical, mental and social wellbeing of the seafarer on the dedicated Seafarer Wellbeing page on the club’s website. In particular, the 2019 award-winning ‘Seafarer Wellbeing Posters’ designed for placement onboard ships, share advice on how to look after personal and crew wellbeing whilst at sea.
Charitable Support to Members and Seafarers
Standard Club has continued to engage with charitable partners to contribute to worthy initiatives that seek to support seafarer’s physical and mental wellbeing, which are vital in these challenging times. The following organisations have dedicated assistance available to seafarers in response to crisis in Ukraine:
1. The International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN)
Emotional support is available to any seafarer or seafarer’s family who have been affected by the crisis in Ukraine via SeafarerHelp. This free, 24-hour, multilingual helpline is operated by the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN). The SeafarerHelp team is available 7 days a week to offer a listening ear to any seafarer or family member who is worried or needs someone to talk to. Contact details and Live Chat can be found at www.seafarerhelp.org.
ISWAN is also managing the new Ukraine Crisis Support Fund on behalf of the Seafarers International Relief Fund. The Ukraine Crisis Support Fund is a small grants fund for seafarers and their families who have been impacted by the Ukraine crisis and need immediate and urgent financial support. One-time financial grants of up to US$500 are available to help with expenses including medical, rent, living costs, or educational support for children. Compensation of up to US$1,000 is available to next of kin if a seafarer has died as a direct consequence of the Ukraine crisis. Individual seafarers cannot apply to the Ukraine Crisis Support Fund – seafarer-centred organisations (including maritime welfare charities, maritime unions, port welfare committees, ship management companies or manning agents) must apply on a seafarer’s or family’s behalf. More information can be found on ISWAN’s website: www.seafarerswelfare.org/relief-funds/ukraine-crisis-support-fund.
Seafarers affected or concerned by what is happening in Ukraine can find support and information via the services and links listed below.
- ISWAN for Seafarers app: Download via Google Play or the App Store
Seafarers can download the ISWAN for Seafarers app for access to support from ISWAN's 24-hour helplines SeafarerHelp at the touch of a button. The app also offers offline access to all of ISWAN's mental and physical health resources, including self-help mental wellbeing guides.
- Chat with a Chaplain: icma.as/chat-with-a-chaplain/
An online messenger service by the International Christian Maritime Association (ICMA), providing 24-hour holistic and spiritual support both for seafarers and their families wishing to speak to a port chaplain.
- Dedicated helpline for Ukrainian seafarers, dockers and their families: Call +48 789 869 377
The Polish Coordinating Committee of Maritime ITF Affiliates on FOC and POC campaigns, including all Polish Maritime Trade Unions, has created this phone number dedicated especially for Ukrainian seafarers, dockers and their families. The representatives of Polish Maritime Trade Unions work 24 hours per day and 7 days per week.
For more information visit the dedicated Ukraine area on ISWAN Website - Ukraine crisis | SeafarerHelp
2. The Mission to Seafarers (MtS)
The Mission to Seafarers (MtS) global operation stretches across 200 ports and 50 countries. Frontline Chaplains and ship visitors are providing special care and time to those caught up in the Ukrainian crisis. Free SIM cards and MiFi units, loaded with additional funds are available to any ship’s crew who have family in Ukraine or surrounding countries and need to get in touch with them.
MtS is on hand in a digital capacity to provide emotional and spiritual assistance via Crewhelp@mtsmail.org or MtS Chat to a Chaplain service which is manned 24/7.
MtS has produced a guide in English and Ukrainian on how to manage trauma, especially at sea when seafarers feel even more helpless to support their families at home, which is being handed out via frontline staff.
The Mission to Seafarers is a member of the Seafarers International Relief Fund, which is a collaboration between all the maritime charities, to provide financial support to Ukrainian seafarers and their families. In addition, MtS operates a Samaritan’s fund which has been doubled in size to accommodate urgent needs.
3. Stella Maris
A global maritime network, Stella Maris is providing practical and pastoral support to seafarers affected by the war in Ukraine. Recognising the anguish of Ukrainian seafarers who are anxious about the safety of their family and friends at home, Stella Maris is making phone cards and data SIMs available to Ukrainian seafarers free of charge as part of their regular visits to vessels in UK ports.
Stella Maris chaplains have also been providing practical and emotional support to many Ukrainian seafarers who are worried about their long-term employment prospects once they finish their contracts.
Fr Oleksandr Smerechynskyy, Stella Maris Ukraine national director and Odessa port chaplain along with ship visitor Rostyslav, are liaising with local churches and aid agencies to arrange delivery of emergency provisions and medicines to ships while providing spiritual care for the city's population.
Fr Alex has begun recording weekly Sunday Gospel reading and reflection videos for Ukrainian seafarers and their families. The recordings are shared on Stella Maris social media channels.
Stella Maris fully supports the call by the International Maritime Organization to ensure that seafarers are safe and secure, and that they must not be collateral victims in a larger political and military crisis.
“Stella Maris urges all governments to ensure the safety of all seafarers caught up in this crisis, their entitlement to adequate shore leave and their access to our welfare services.”
4. Sailors' Society
Since the conflict started, Sailors’ Society chaplains and port outreach team have been helping seafarers to phone home, by giving out Wi-Fi units and providing phone cards. As the situation in Ukraine has quickly escalated, Sailors’ Society are providing support for seafarers affected by this crisis. The additional measures in place include:
- Increasing the funds available for emergency grants for seafarers and their families,
- Drafting in more trained staff to resource their Crisis Response Network (CRN),
- Increasing capacity to be able to respond to more calls to their helpline and,
- Setting up a dedicated peer support groups to assist crisis affected seafarers and families.
Services available to Shipowners
Focus is not only on Ukrainian and Russian seafarers/operators, but anyone who is affected. Sailors’ Society have specific services available to operators to assist with arrangements of:
- Booking ship visits to ports where Sailors’ Society have chaplains, so they can meet with affected seafarers
- Setting up ship connect calls to vessels with Ukrainian crew (arranged as 1-to-1 or group calls)
Peer support groups build on a programme Sailors’ Society previously developed as part of their ‘Wellness at Sea’ training. Peer support groups work in the following way:
- Seafarers can join the WhatsApp link (below).
- Once logged in, staff will meet and greet them personally, ask their nationality, their reason for joining, and specific assistance required. They are also provided with the CRN contact details.
- Users are then allocated to either a Ukrainian, Russian or general group, according to nationality.
- The groups are NOT political but focus on how they can support one another, supporting seafarers emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
- Any concerns in terms of safeguarding or where assistance from their CRN team is required, Sailors’ Society reports and escalates accordingly.
Access the peer Support chat https://chat.whatsapp.com/Ims2jwNK2LXLPA8Q9XCVIS
Sailors’ Society has launched an appeal to raise funds to enable additional support for all seafarers affected by this crisis - you can find details on their website.