Working people across the United States have stepped up to help out our friends, neighbors and communities during these trying times. In our regular Service + Solidarity Spotlight series, we'll showcase one of these stories every day. Here’s today’s story.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), in connection with several partners, has been working to help seafarers and their families find refuge from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. ITF, which counts among its affiliates numerous U.S. unions, has teamed up with the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, the Marine Transport Workers’ Trade Union of Ukraine (MTWTU) and shipping company V.Group to help more than 100 people find safety as the conflict rages. In particular, the initiative has focused on port cities like Odesa and Mariupol.
Oleg Grygoriuk, chair of MTWTU, explained the process: “Many seafarers’ families are at the epicenter of the military actions taking place in key maritime cities in Ukraine. We do our best to ensure safety for seafarers’ families. Prior to the start of this project, we helped more than 60 people to cross the border using MTWTU resources. We gained valuable experience and we are grateful for the opportunity to continue this project, which definitely is the number one priority for seafarers’ families now.”
Katie Higginbottom, head of the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, said: “In less than three weeks we have helped more than 100 people reach safe and secure accommodation and provided support as they plan their onward journeys. Today we heard that three families managed to make the move from Kherson to Odesa and will be on their way to safety on the next bus out this week. We can barely imagine the levels of courage and endurance required to take these perilous journeys. We continue to call for industry partners to join our initiative so that we can keep the project running for as long as it is needed and help as many families as possible.”