Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, seafarers, regardless of nationality, employed on board vessels trading in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov area have been negatively impacted, which is why the Joint Negotiating Group (JNG) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) have designated areas in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov as ‘Warlike Operations Areas’ triggering an increased security level and other entitlements for seafarers in the war zone.
The hostilities and conflict continue to pose a serious threat to seafarers, but there is now an additional danger for Ukrainian seafarers on board ships entering Russian territorial waters and/or ports despite these areas being outside the agreed Warlike Operation Areas.
Therefore, to ensure the protection of Ukrainian seafarers, the JNG should discourage their Member companies from sending these nationals to Russian ports. In any case employers should notify all Ukrainian seafarers if their ship is scheduled to enter Russian territorial waters and/or ports and allow them the right to refuse to sail, with repatriation at the company’s cost and, under certain circumstances, compensation equal to a maximum of 2 month’s basic wage.
Application of the IBF CBA provisions in relation the above, the ITF and the JNG agreed:
- Where a vessel is heading to any Russian ports and/or territorial waters, a Ukrainian Seafarer shall have the right to ask for repatriation at the company’s cost. The Seafarer shall receive payment of basic pay whilst in transit and any board and lodging required until the seafarer returns home or has reached the original place of engagement.
- The company shall make every effort to re-deploy the repatriated Seafarer within 30 days after the date the seafarer returns home or reaches the original port of engagement, to either continue the original contract terms and conditions or be offered a new contract.
- Where the seafarer is not re-deployed within 30 days after the date the seafarer returns home or reaches the original port of engagement, the Company shall pay the Seafarer compensation, as follows:
- Where the Seafarer Employment Agreement (SEA) term has 2 months or more left, the compensation is 2-months of basic pay.
- Where the SEA term has less than 2 months left, the compensation is pro-rated at the basic pay level.