Seafarer agency Danica Crewing Specialists is working hard to get Ukrainian seafarers back on board ships after the government relaxed rules on males leaving the country.

The company’s chief executive Henrik Jensen welcomed the cabinet’s decision to allow certain crew members to return to vessels.

Jensen, whose company specialises in the supply of Ukrainian and Eastern European seafarers, said: “Shipping is experiencing a shortage of competent crew, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, and we are hopeful that this decision will go at least halfway to alleviating the current shortfall.

“We are in touch with some 600 seafarers who have been unable to return to their ships and we are working with them to help them resume their careers,” he revealed.

Jensen explained that the Ukrainian authorities are still finalising procedures for seafarers to obtain permission to leave the country.

Until now, men of fighting age between 18 and 60 have been prevented from leaving.

The government has said seafarers serving on ships involved in exporting Ukrainian agricultural products will be released to travel.

Cadets who have undergone practical training on ships will also be free to leave.

But there is still some fear among crew members that this exercise may be military recruitment in disguise, Jensen reports.

Much-needed work

Danica’s crewing teams, who have remained operational throughout the conflict, even from bomb shelters, are now working hard to support seafarers in their return to the sea.

Some crew members have had no employment since before Christmas 2021 and they and their families are suffering hardship, the company said.

Jensen added: “In Danica, we have continuously stayed in contact with Ukrainian seafarers since the start of the war. Our team members are now compiling an updated list of whereabouts and joining readiness dates for each crew member and matching these with vacancies on-board ships.”

He added: “It might still take some time until the authorities have administrative procedures in place, and for the seafarers to get themselves ready, but we are hopeful that everyone will act fast.”

The boss said many seafarers are in financial distress and need to return back to sea as soon as possible in order to have an income again.

“With the worldwide crew shortage there will be a lot of job offers for them,” Jensen added.

Ukraine is working on exporting millions of tonnes of grain previously kept in ports by Russia’s naval blockade.