War in Ukraine
The ongoing hostilities in Ukraine have had a huge impact on the maritime community and seafarers in particular, as well as global trade.
Updated 15 August 2023
Below we provide an overview of Gard’s relevant loss prevention material, as well as links to some useful external websites and guidelines, that may assist ship operators, masters, and crews to stay alert and prepare and respond to the ongoing situation in Ukraine and the Black Sea region. However, please note that the situation remains fluid and can change by the hour.
Operational and security risks
War in Ukraine – impact on maritime situation (25 July 2023): Developments in Ukraine and the impact on the shipping activities in the area is being closely monitored by Gard. Updates are received through our local correspondents in both Ukraine and Russia, as well as from other service suppliers. While we strive to maintain information about the maritime situation in the area up to date, we stress that the situation, and corresponding advice, may change quickly. We therefore strongly recommend that ship operators and masters trading to ports in the Black Sea region make frequent checks with their flag administrations and local sources of information, e.g. vessel’s agent, Gard’s correspondent, etc., to obtain the most up-to-date and reliable security information available at any given time.
How the war affects global shipping
Crisis in Ukraine (21 April 2022): In this article, Torunn Biller White, Gard’s Chief Risk Officer, talks with Senior Lawyer, Wan Jing Tan about the crisis in the Ukraine and how this has affected Gard and our Members and clients. In a discussion ranging from the extreme effect on seafarer well-being, the impact on global commodity markets and the economic fallout from sanctions, Torunn touches on the many challenges facing our industry yet reminds us that our thoughts are with those most affected by the crisis.
War in Ukraine - Impact on contractual obligations (6 April 2022): The war in Ukraine has led to a large volume of queries being received by our team of Defence lawyers. Some owners and operators have vessels currently at Ukrainian or Russian ports or bound for them whilst others have concerns about whether they are contractually bound to go to Russian ports in the future.
In this FAQ, we outline some of the Defence issues that has arisen. While many questions will depend on the specific facts, we provide some general guidance which will be supplemented as events unfold. These answers are based on the charterparty being subject to English law. The answers may be different if the charterparty is subject to another legal system.
The Black Sea Grain Initiative that allowed grain products to be shipped from Ukrainian Black Sea ports has now ended. Our article focuses on what that means for owners’ and charterers’ contractual obligations. There have been many developments since we last updated our article on the impact on contractual obligations of the war in Ukraine.
Impact on crew
War in Ukraine - impact on crew contracts, claims and repatriation (11 March 2022): Many Gard Members employ Ukrainian and Russian seafarers. We outline some of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) related to employment terms and also the impact of the war on P&I cover for crew claims.
It is worth noting that this FAQ is relevant to the crew cover provided by Gard and does not address the many difficult and changing security and operational challenges relating to the war.
Ukrainian seafarer repatriation (3 March 2022): As the conflict in Ukraine continues, many Members and clients are having difficulties repatriating Ukrainian crew. Some crew members may want to extend their contracts given the turbulence and uncertainty of the situation; others will want to terminate their contracts earlier than intended in order to go home to Ukraine. Given the circumstances, the International Group of P&I Clubs (IG) Personnel Sub-Committee has drafted a Contract Addendum to assist owners and crew who would like to alter their contracts.
The sanctions imposed as a result of the conflict in Ukraine and covering Russia and Belarus are rapidly evolving. If you as a Member of Gard have questions relating to sanctions and how they impact your operations or insurances with Gard, please reach out to your usual contact at Gard.
Our Sanctions website also provides some useful links to circulars and other publications concerning different sanctions regimes.
External sources of information
Below we have provided links to some relevant websites and guidelines that may assist ship operators, masters, and crews to stay alert and prepare and respond to the ongoing situation.
- IMO: Maritime Security and Safety in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov
- UN Black Sea Grain Initiative Joint Coordination Centre
- NATO: Risk of collateral damage in the north western Black Sea
- NAVAREA III warnings in force
- Wilhelmsen Ukraine-Russia port situation map
- BIMCO: Ukraine - overview of content on BIMCO website
Note that seafarers impacted by the situation can request assistance from IMO's Seafarer Crisis Action Team (SCAT) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.