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Appeal launched over fears for crews embroiled in Red Sea shipping crisis

Appeal launched over fears for crews embroiled in Red Sea shipping crisis
Adis Ajdin January 19, 2024

Sailors’ Society has launched an urgent crisis appeal following mounting concern over attacks on ships in the Red Sea.

The global maritime charity emphasized that while supply chain problems and the financial consequences of rerouting ships have received a lot of attention, there is an acute human cost with seafarers caught up in the conflict.

These men and women are simply doing their job transporting more than 90% of everything we use and own. Now they face the very real danger of explosive drones and missiles, Sailors’ Society said in a release Friday, adding that shipping companies are calling its Crisis Response Network to request mental health and wellbeing support.

“Seafarers did not sign up to be shot at,” said Sara Baade chief executive of Sailors’ Society.

She stressed that any seafarer approaching the Red Sea today is going to be “extremely anxious” and that diverting around the Horn of Africa also brings its challenges with the tropical cyclone that has pounded Mauritius and fear of piracy around Somalia and the Gulf of Guinea.

“At the very least they will be delayed returning home to loved ones who they have already been separated from for many months,” Baade added.

More than 30 merchant ships have been targeted by the Houthis since November, leading to a massive redrawing of the global seaborne map.

US President Joe Biden on Thursday admitted the US counterstrikes had yet to deter the Houthi attacks, but added: “Are they going to continue? Yes.”

The European Parliament adopted yesterday a resolution condemning the recent attacks on commercial shipping in the Red Sea and calling for immediate and concerted EU efforts including a naval operation.

During a meeting with shipping industry representatives yesterday, Arsenio Dominguez, the new secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization reiterated the message that seafarers are innocent victims in the volatile Red Sea situation.

The charity noted that its crisis response network is available at any time to support seafarers and their families involved in any kind of trauma.