Marine tracking company Windward estimates that 3,500 sailors are stranded on about 200 ships in Ukrainian ports. The number of ships that are unable to move is greater than at any time since World War II.
The crew of a Bangladeshi cargo ship that ran aground near the port of Olvia in Ukraine heard a loud bang, then the bridge engulfed in flames. On Wednesday last week, MV Banglar Samriddhi was hit by a missile, killing one crew member and injuring many others. This is the fifth cargo ship to be shot down after Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine.
New “bottleneck” for supply chain
The conflict between the two countries has seriously hindered shipping in the Black Sea, leading to major consequences for the international shipping industry and global supply chains. Maritime industry observers say dozens of cargo ships are stuck in the Ukrainian port of Mykolaiv.
As a result, the world’s second-largest grain exporter was forced to close. Ukraine accounts for 16% of global corn exports and 30% of wheat exports along with Russia. Global wheat prices have risen more than 55% since before the conflict.
“The shock to global grain supplies is the biggest supply shock since OPEC cut production,” said Salvatore Mercogliano, a professor at Campbell University in North Carolina and former member of the nation’s merchant fleet. oil production in the 1970s. This could lead to food shortages in the Middle East and Africa, causing inflation around the world.”
Global carriers face an even greater challenge as thousands of Ukrainian and Russian crew members are stranded in ports around the world. Shipowners are struggling to find replacement crews as they try to cope with an already strained supply chain.
According to Ukrainian port authorities, in the Black Sea and the contiguous zone with the Sea of Azov – important shipping routes for food and oil exports, five oil tankers and cargo ships were hit by missiles. The ships involved included oil tankers, container ships and bulk carriers from Japan, Turkey, Moldova, Estonia – transporting goods ranging from diesel oil and clay to grain.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (TATO) on Thursday warned any ships in the Black Sea at risk of major damage. Meanwhile, the International Maritime Organization (TIMO) said that it would hold an emergency session on March 10 and 11 to address the effects of the conflict with shipping requests from many countries. government.
On the first day of Russia’s military campaign, Ukraine suspended operations at all ports, redirecting cargo ships to ports in Turkey, Romania and the former Soviet republic of Georgia. With fewer ships moving north of the Black and Seas of Azov, global freight rates for oil tankers rose to a decade high. The cost of insurance in areas affected by the conflict has reached 5%. As a result, each shipment is “padded” by hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to data from Windward.
It can be seen that the supply chain, which has been disrupted for 2 years during the pandemic, is even more stressed. Poor countries that depend on imports may experience supply shocks. Officials are bracing themselves for price spikes in Egypt, Turkey and Syria. Egypt currently imports 85% of its wheat from Ukraine and Russia.
The ship is stuck, the crew is in great danger
On February 24 – the first day of Russia’s special military operation, the Yasa Jupiter aircraft carrier – owned by Turkey, carrying goods for the US trade group Cargill – was hit by a bomb in Odessa port city coast. The next day, the Moldovan-flagged Millennial Spirit tanker, loaded with 600 tons of oil and diesel, caught fire after being hit by a missile. The Japanese bulk carrier Namura Queen also crashed.
Munro Anderson, president of London-based maritime security firm Dryad Global, said: “Sailorists now face a difficult choice. Stay on the boat and risk running out of food, or try to paddle. ship to another place but still at risk because it’s in a war zone.”
The 29 crew members of the Bangladeshi cargo ship Banglar Samriddhi anchored at the Ukrainian port of Olvia on February 23. They prepare to load clay and raw materials for the production of ceramics to the Italian port of Ravenna. At that time, engineer Hasidur Rahman called his brothers to inform: “I will go home and get married next year, will not stay in Ukraine for long.”
However, within hours, the conflict officially took place, Banglar Samriddhi and hundreds of other ships stuck in the war zone. From the deck, the crew heard an explosion in the distance and were alarmed to see smoke rising over the horizon. The owner of the ship instructed Captain Noor-e Alam to go to international waters, but he was not allowed by the Ukrainian authorities. They were also unable to move because many mines were placed around the entrance of the port.
Diplomatic efforts to evacuate the crew were accelerated. Bangladeshi officials in Warsaw carrying out a plan to lobby with Ukraine and organizations representing Bangladeshi workers in the country were then preparing to drive to Ovia to pick up the crew members.
Around 5pm on March 2, Rahman got on the bridge to guide the way, picked up the phone signal and called his family. He said people don’t have to worry because his work will help his family out of poverty. However, Rahman’s brother Golam heard a loud bang, the phone signal was also lost and Rahman lost his life because the area was hit by rockets.