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Northern Black Sea designated as ‘warlike area’ to aid seafarers

Parts of the Black Sea and Sea of Azov have been dubbed ‘warlike operations areas’, giving extra benefits to seafarers working in them

Groups representing seafarers and their employers agreed to extra pay, benefits and rights for seafarers caught in the Ukraine war zones at a special meeting

EMPLOYERS and unions have agreed on extra pay, benefits, and granting the right to refuse to sail to seafarers caught in the Ukraine war zones.

Parts of the Sea of Azov and the northern Black Sea, including all Ukrainian ports, have been designated as ‘warlike operations areas’ by the Joint Negotiating Group of employers and the International Transport Workers’ Federation.

Warlike and high-risk areas are parts of the world where it is considered that there is a high level of exposure to safety and life risks due to a war, military tension, hostilities, pirate activity and other circumstances causing immediate danger to visiting vessels and their crews, according to the federation.

Seafarers working in designated areas are entitled to extra benefits and protections, including:

• A bonus equal to their basic wage payable for five days’ minimum, or more per day if longer

• Doubled compensation for death or disability

• The right to refuse sailing, with repatriation at the company’s cost and compensation equal to two months’ basic wages

• Recommendations to operate at ISPS Level 3, the highest risk level.

The designations will be reviewed every two weeks.

“The escalation in hostilities and conflict in Ukraine has put enormous pressure on seafarers of all nations and an industry already labouring under the demands and challenges of the pandemic,” the groups said in a statement.

The benefits cover seafarers on more than 9,000 ships that are part of the International Bargaining Forum agreement, a collective bargaining agreement.

“The parties agreed that the welfare of seafarers and the protection of their rights in this unprecedented situation was paramount to the spirit and intent of the IBF agreement,” the groups said.

The forum also considered helping governments with potential refugee deals for Ukrainian seafarers and their families, and to increase pressure on governments to waive visas to ease their repatriation.

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