Joint open letter on seafarers still trapped in Ukraine

20 Feb 2023

As we approach the one-year mark since the start of the war in Ukraine, ECSA has joined over 30 associations and companies in co-signing a letter to His Excellency António Guterres, United Nations Secretary General, highlighting the plight of 331 seafarers still trapped on vessels in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The co-signatories call for urgent action to address this matter urgently and evacuate all remaining seafarers and ships.

Read the joint open letter below and here.


20 February 2023


For the attention of His Excellency António Guterres

United Nations Secretary General

United Nations Headquarters

E 46th St & 1st Ave

New York 10017

United States of America


Joint open letter on seafarers still trapped in Ukraine


Re: Shipping industry call for help to evacuate the 300+ seafarers still trapped in Ukraine ports

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.


Bahamas Shipowners Association – Mr. John Adams, Chairman

BIMCO – Mr.David Loosley, Secretary General & CEO

CONFIRTAMA – Italian Shipowners’ Association – 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 – Ms. Anne H.Steffensen, Director General and CEO

European Community Shipowners’ Association (ECSA) – Mr. Sotiris Raptis, Secretary General

FONASBA – Mr. Jonathan C.Williams FICS, General Manager

IINO KAIUN KAISHA, LTD. (IINO LINES) – Mr. Hiromi Tosha, President and Representative Director

INTERCARGO – Dr. Kostas G. Gkonis, CEO

InterManager – 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 Union of Marine Insurance (IUMI) – Mr. Lars Lange, Secretary General

INTERTANKO – 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

Sailors’ Society – Ms. Sara Baade, CEO

Seafarers Hospital Society – Ms. Sandra Welch, CEO

Stella Maris – Mr. Martin Foley, Chief Executive Officer/European Regional Coordinator

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

Union of Greek Shipowners – 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


For press and media inquiries, please contact ECSA Director Shipping Policy, Luisa