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Danica Steps Up to Help Ukrainian Seafarers Evacuate

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Port of Odesa (George Chernilevsky / CC BY SA 4.0)

Published Mar 1, 2022 12:42 AM by The Maritime Executive

Danica, one of the largest crewing agencies for Ukrainian seafarers, is helping its personnel to evacuate from Ukraine if they wish to escape the ongoing Russian invasion. It has also set up group housing for returning seafarers in Warsaw, outside of the country and away from the fighting. 

"In view of the serious and dangerous situation in Ukraine, I have offered assistance to all our seafarers and their families as well as our office staff who wish to flee from Ukraine. It is not possible to arrange buses or transport inside Ukraine, but once persons cross the borders then Danica will assist them," said Henrik Jensen, Managing Director, Danica Crewing Specialists. "We are advised that Moldovia and Romania are well organised for refugees transiting there, with tents, food, support and children’s toys. Some crewmembers want to remain with their families and some wish to fight."

Circumstances on the ground are changing quickly. Ukraine's main seaport, Odesa, remains in Ukrainian hands, and the port entrance has been mined to prevent amphibious assault by Russian Navy forces, according to Jensen. Though air raid sirens have sounded and shelling has been heard in the distance, the city has yet to come under direct attack. However, the Russian advance is not far away.

"Russian military landed on Friday at the city of Kherson and moved west towards Odesa, causing severe fighting with the Ukrainian military in the vicinity of the city of Nikolaev," said Jensen. "Both cities are the hometown for many seamen."

Danica also provides crewing services for Russian seafarers, and with Russia's financial system under increasingly strict Western sanctions, Jensen says that his firm has been in touch with its bank regarding methods for processing payroll for Russian crewmembers. Most of Russia's banks have been cut off from the SWIFT financial messaging service, and Russia's central bank is under unprecedented direct sanctions.