Seafarer looking out a porthole with a Ukraine flag superimposed over the top.

Shipping industry calls for help to evacuate the 300+ seafarers still trapped in Ukraine ports

Published: 20 February 2023

Joint open letter to His Excellency António Guterres, United Nations Secretary General, on seafarers still trapped in Ukraine.

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




Mr. David Loosley, Secretary General & CEO




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

Anne H. Steffensen, Director General and CEO



European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA)

Mr. Sotiris Raptis, Secretary General




Mr. Jonathan C. Williams FICS, General Manager




Mr. Hiromi Tosha, President and Representative Director




Dr. Kostas G. Gkonis, CEO




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 Parcel Tankers Association (IPTA)

Mr. Mike Beviss, General Manager


International Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI)

Mr. Lars Lange – Secretary General




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




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



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




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

Mette Kronholm Frænde


Mette Kronholm Fraende

Head of External Communications

Copenhagen, Denmark