MTWTU developed a Draft Statement of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on measures to support seafarers

The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine registered the Draft Resolution on the Statement of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on measures to support seafarers employed onboard the vessels engaged in international maritime shipping.

On December 1, 2020, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Resolution 75/17 ‘International cooperation to address challenges faced by seafarers as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to support global supply chains’.

With this Resolution, the UN General Assembly:

-Urges Member States to designate seafarers and other marine personnel as key workers;

-Calls upon international organizations and other parties to provide support to governments in the development and implementation of measures to ensure decent working conditions, life, and protection of the seafarers’ rights.

Currently, 55 states have recognized seafarers as key workers.

Ukraine is one of the world leaders in the number of seafarers: more than 100,000 Ukrainians are engaged in international maritime shipping, and 40,000 of them are currently onboard.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented crew change crisis. The crisis has resulted in hundreds of thousands of seafarers being constantly under the psychological pressure of uncertainty about the date and time of returning back home to their families. And other hundreds of thousands are waiting to be back onboard to provide well-being of their families on the shore.

At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened other problems that Ukrainian seafarers constantly face while working for international maritime shipping.

Taking into account the above, the MTWTU has contributed to drafting the Statement of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on measures to support seafarers employed onboard the vessels engaged in international maritime shipping.

In the Draft Statement, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine:

1.Affirms its respect for workers of healthcare and other life support services in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic;

2.Defines the special role of seafarers and marine personnel in ensuring the international shipping of goods, including medical equipment;

3.Defines the main crisis faced by Ukrainian seafarers: abandonment by shipowners, mental health issues, missing cases;

4.Emphasizes the need for coordinated measures to ensure safe rotation of ship’s crews;

5.Draws attention to a significant number of shipwrecks in the Black Sea, where Ukrainian seafarers got killed or went missing;

6.Notes with concern the significant increase of pirate attacks on ships;

7.Invites international organizations and other stakeholders to take coordinated measures to reduce the risks of seafarers capturing into crisis.

The adoption of the Statement will demonstrate Ukraine’s respect for the standards and principles of international legislation and the Resolution of the UN General Assembly from December 1, 2020, No. 75/17, will contribute to the establishment of the state’s representation as one of the world leaders in protecting the labour and social rights of seafarers.

The MTWTU expresses gratitude to the Deputy of Ukraine Andrey Sharaskin, Chairman of the Subcommittee on International Maritime Policy and Security Ukraine of the VRU Committee on Foreign Policy and Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation for his support of seafarers, the citizens of Ukraine.

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