The Republic of the Marshall Islands Maritime Administrator has issued a marine safety advisory about the repatriation of Ukrainian seafarers.
This safety advisory was published on March 9th, 2023.
It is addressed to all owners, operators, masters, nautical inspectors, and recognized organizations.
In late February the Marine Transport Workers’ Trade Union of Ukraine (MTWTU) issued an official statement on crew changes of Ukrainian seafarers.
Noting the views of MTWTU and the impact of the conflict in Ukraine, the Paris Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and Tokyo MoU have issued the following guidance:
- Paris MoU, Guidance on repatriation of seafarers due to situation in Ukraine; and
- Tokyo MoU, Interim Guidance Relating to the Ukrainian Seafarer Repatriation Due to the Regional Conflict.
Both MoUs have adopted a flexible and pragmatic approach to extending periods of service on board ships.
In addition, the Tokyo MoU has noted that payment of wages in accordance with the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 may be difficult and that alternative arrangements may need to be put in place to pay seafarers and facilitate allotments to dependents.
The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Maritime Administrator (the “Administrator”) is also aware that other port States have issued internal guidance to their port State control officers urging them to take a practical and pragmatic approach, including ensuring that:
- Contracts extended beyond their expiration are supported with valid seafarers’ employment agreements or extensions and the individual seafarer agrees; and
- Shipowners provide evidence of travel and destination to friendly neighboring countries with sufficient monies for land transport where flights are not available in the event a seafarer wants to return home at the end of their contract.
Very importantly, for RMI-flagged ships covered by International Bargaining Forum (IBF) contracts, there are now agreed on IBF Recommendations on the management of the repatriation of seafarers affected by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In addition to encouraging affected seafarers to extend their contracts, the guidance details expectations for employers in repatriating seafarers to third countries, including those who wish to continue their travels home.
Seafarers requiring medical disembarkation are also addressed.
The Administrator supports a pragmatic approach to this situation and supports the flexibility that is being afforded by the various port States and other entities.
If flag State approval for the extension of contracts is necessary on a case-by-case basis, please contact the Administrator at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please see the document below (available only to subscribers):
Repatriating Ukrainian Seafarers
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