ICS: Lack of seafarers challenging supplies

Global supply chain woes, which have the potential to continue affecting Barbados, will be compounded by what the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) says is “a lack of Ukrainian and Russian seafarers.

The ICS, which reportedly represents 80 per cent of the world’s merchant fleet, said The Seafarer Workforce Report, published in 2021 by itself and BIMCO found that 1.89 million seafarers were currently operating over 74 000 vessels in the global merchant fleet.

The organisations explained that to maintain trade levels, these seafarers must be able to join and disembark ships (crew change) freely across the world.

However, they reported that flights have been cancelled to and from the region of Europe where Russia and Ukraine were located, “making this increasingly difficult”.

“Fears over crew safety and increasing insurance premiums to send ships to Ukraine or Russia have also discouraged shipowners from sending vessels to these countries. Industry has reported that some crews have abandoned their ships in Ukraine due to security worries,” the ICS said.

“Of shipping’s total workforce, 198 123 (10.5 per cent) of seafarers are Russian, of which 71 652 are officers and 126 471 are ratings. Ukraine accounts for 76 442 (four per cent) of seafarers of which 47 058 are officers and 29 383 are ratings. Combined they represent 14.5 per cent of the global workforce.”

Commenting on the issue, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping Guy Platten said: “The conflict in Ukraine is having a significant impact upon the safety and security of seafarers and shipping in the area. As with COVID-19, seafarers are being exposed to issues not of their making.

“Multiple ships have been hit by munitions, seafarers have been killed and injured and seafarers of all nationalities are trapped on ships berthed in ports.

“It is of the utmost urgency that their evacuation from these areas of threat should be ensured by those states with the power to do so. The impact upon innocent seafarers and their families cannot be underestimated.” (SC)


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