Thanks to a joint project of the ITF Seafarers’ Trust, the Marine Transport Workers’ Union of Ukraine (MTWTU), Kherson State Maritime Academy (KSMA) and the Lithuanian Maritime Academy, 50 Ukrainian cadets will be able to complete their maritime studies and obtain Lithuanian and Ukrainian certificates of competency.
Over the last six months war in Ukraine has traumatized the country and rocked the world. The protracted hostilities have affected many industries and significantly impacted merchant shipping and the world's economy. Martial law, imposed in Ukraine from February 24, 2022, has, until now, prevented Ukrainian seafarers from joining vessels and had a dramatic effect on the crewing of ships.
In addition, thousands of cadets in maritime educational institutions have been unable to complete their courses and obtain working diplomas, without seagoing experience.
Kherson State Maritime Academy is one of the leading maritime educational institutions in Ukraine, it has felt the devastating effects of the war at first hand. Since mid-March, the Kherson region has been under the control of the occupying authorities and is now the focus of a counteroffensive. The academy’s premises and facilities, built up over years with the support of the MTWTU and the maritime industry, were also occupied. Nevertheless, the academy’s administration managed to establish a form of distance learning.
MTWTU and the ITF Seafarers’ Trust have been working closely together to support seafarers and their families since the start of the conflict and decided to turn their attention to the plight of the cadets.
“We are fully committed to supporting our Ukrainian brothers and sisters through this terrible period. Ordinarily the Trust concentrates more on welfare than training, but these are exceptional circumstances. We’re extremely proud to help these young people to finish their studies and realize their aspirations.” said Dave Heindel, Chair of the ITF Seafarers’ Trust.
“Ukraine is known to the world for its highly skilled seafarers and, today, thousands of seafarers are fighting for its independence. We are immensely proud of their courage. However, we must not forget about our future. It was in thinking about future generations of Ukrainian seafarers that the idea of a project was born. Within its framework, cadets of the Kherson State Maritime Academy from the occupied territories and territories of active hostilities could get a chance to study at the Lithuanian Maritime Academy.” said Oleg Grygoriuk, MTWTU Chairman.
The cadets will be enrolled into the Lithuanian Maritime Academy in Klaipeda; with the main goal to ensure that they receive both theoretical and practical knowledge in a safe and fulfilling manner. The project provides for training in parallel in both educational institutions.
“We decided to focus on cadets who had completed their third year but were effectively in limbo, unable to complete their studies and get their certification.” said Katie Higginbottom, Head of ITF Seafarers’ Trust
“We are providing financial support for academic studies, accommodation and subsistence in Lithuania and help with finding placements. For cadets, the seagoing training is always an acute issue because high-quality experience directly influences the future career growth of a young seafarer. In this we’ve reached out to our industry partners who have been very supportive of the initiative. It was important for us that the cadets will receive a rigorous education and retain the connection to their Ukrainian academy who will also benefit from the project. Having visited the academy in Klaipeda and met the coordinator from Kherson I am convinced they will have a top-class education in a nurturing environment.”
In early September, the first project participants will begin their studies in Klaipeda.