Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) is providing apartments for its Ukraine-based employees and their families in Bulgaria as the Russian invasion continues unabated.
The company began renting apartments in Varna from mid-March and so far has 200 people from 60 families, 75 of which are children, staying in them, with more coming every day.
“Like the rest of the world, we are deeply distraught, saddened, and concerned by the events in Ukraine. We carefully considered how we can best support our colleagues who have been impacted, displaced, and are in danger,” said EPS chief executive Cyril Ducau, who travelled to Varna on Thursday together with EPS owner Idan Ofer and his wife, Batia
These company-provided apartments include lodging for all EPS Ukrainian seafarers, manning office staff, and their immediate family members. The company employs around 600 Ukrainians both at sea and ashore.
Seafarers who are currently working onboard or who are required to remain in Ukraine can still send their immediate family members to the Varna apartments.
“These apartments provide safe and secure accommodations to innocent people who simply want to live a peaceful life with their families. It’s been humbling coming here today and seeing everyone in good spirits despite undergoing a harrowing ordeal. The happiness on the face of the children has made this all worthwhile,” said Ducau.
While in Varna, Ducau and the Ofers hosted a get-together for everyone. The company said the afternoon was “filled with happiness, laughter, and gratitude”.
“Our Ukrainian colleagues at sea and onshore have shown tremendous courage and resilience in the face of extreme adversity. I would like to thank the EPS teams in Odessa and Varna, who have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure our colleagues and their families have access to a safe haven,” Ducau said.
“The EPS community celebrates its successes together, but more importantly, we support each other in times of need. It’s been amazing to witness the camaraderie and support displayed for those in their time of need. I am incredibly proud of our team,” he added.