Today, Russian propaganda spread information that the official website of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) allegedly posted information about “sea mines floating freely in the Black Sea off the coasts of Romania and Turkey”. These aggressor’s statements are the manipulation.

In fact, the IMO is currently working to implement an approved resolution C/ES.35 stemming from Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The IMO’s official website now has a statement entitled “Maritime Security and Safety in the Black and Azov Seas”, which states that the ongoing armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine presents a serious and immediate threat to the safety and security of crews and vessels operating in the region, but it does not mention neither Turkey nor Romania.

The IMO statement said that IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim has established an Emergency Task Force to coordinate efforts to mitigate the security and safety risks to shipping, ports and seafarers. 

IMO Secretary-General and Guy Ryder, Director-General, International Labour Organization, have jointly written to the heads of International Committee of the Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières; and to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to request urgent action wherever feasible to assist in the reprovisioning of the ships concerned with the vital supplies needed by their seafarers.

The letters note that, as well as the dangers arising from bombardment, many of the ships concerned now lack food, fuel, fresh water, and other vital supplies. The situation of the seafarers from many countries is becoming increasingly untenable as a result, presenting grave risks to their health and well-being.

The letters note that the port city of Mariupol is currently under particularly serious attack at this time. Thus, the IMO directly identifies the main threat to ships and seafarers is not from “floating mines” but exactly from Russian bombing and occupation.

The statement added that the IMO Secretariat continues to work with littoral states to encourage and improve regional information sharing and promulgation of information to shipping to aid the safety of navigation and security of shipping.

With regards to humanitarian support for maritime personnel, the IMO Secretariat has been facilitating discussions with Ukrainian ports administrations, charities and the International Labour Organization to support port workers and seafarers directly impacted by the crisis.

At the same time, the IMO points out that Ukraine also provided their preconditions for the safe evacuation of ships from their ports. These include an end to hostilities, the withdrawal of troops and ensuring the freedom of navigation in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov.

Of course, Russian propaganda is silent about this. It should be added that our Association has repeatedly informed the IMO about the crisis in merchant shipping due to Russian aggression.

Text of IMO statement is available at https://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/HotTopics/Pages/MaritimeSecurityandSafetyintheBlackSeaandSeaofAzov.aspx