Letter from Ukrainian Crew Member - Seafarers community please help us with our struggle for our rights

Nov 14, 2022

Crew Center received the following letter from a Ukrainian crew member asking the community to spread the word an help Ukrainian seafarers.

“Among ongoing war Ukrainian officials seemed to listen to the voices of Ukrainian seafarers, which like all capable men, according to martial law, were prohibited to leave the country. But unlike other men, seafarers, mainly, does not have the necessary skills to perform certain work on land and overall they depend from their job abroad.

As a result of signed petitions and spread in social networks, on September 2, 2022 the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted the Decree, the added to the list of categories, that are allowed to cross the State border of Ukraine amid martial law majority of seafarers such as: 1) Students of Maritime schools; 2) Seafarers are going to join their vessels in Ukrainian ports or abroad with a prior proof of maritime education completed before February 24, 2022 or during Martial law. This condition automatically eliminates the majority of cruise ship staff such as waiters, musicians, photographers, housekeeping and other, that basically does not have maritime education since the requirement for their job is an experience.

However, proof of education wasn’t the main issue, since the final permit to cross the State border was supposed to be issued by the Territorial Military Recruit Centers. Since the adoption of the Decree No.992 those Centers did not issue those permits referring that they did not receive clear instructions and that they do not have a form of such permit.

Only on October 24 (almost two months after the Decree No. 992 was adopted) Territorial Military Recruit Centers received an algorithm from General Staff of Armed Forces of Ukraine, that made clear the procedure of issuance of permits and establish the form of permit.

By now many Ukrainian seafarers have already received that permit and some, already, managed to get back to work. But as of November 13, 2022 Southern region, which has the majority of seafarers representing Ukraine, did not issue even a single permit to those seafarers that were planning to join their ship for work purposes outside of Ukraine. Region that is famous for its seafarers ignores their need and rights.

There are many Ukrainian seafarers that just got back home before war started or were due to join. There are people that used to work hard, but spend between 9 months to over a year without a source of income.

We’d like the seafarers' community to help us to be heard and help us with our struggle for our rights. Open letter by Secretary Anthony Blinken was a great help for adoption of the Decree No. 992 along with multiple letters by ITF addressed to President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy. We are almost there. Help us out. Spread the word.”