Hundreds of Ships Trapped by Ukraine War, Endangering Sailors and Global Trade

A missile struck the MV Banglar Samriddhi at 5:25 p.m. last Wednesday, killing one crew member and leaving several others badly burned, according to Bangladeshi crew members, their families and Ukrainian authorities. She was the fifth merchant ship to be hit by artillery off the coast of Ukraine since the Russian invasion.

The war in Ukraine has severely hampered navigation in the Black Sea, with far-reaching consequences for international transport and global supply chains. Dozens of cargo ships are stuck in the Ukrainian port of Mykolaiv, marine trackers said. According to maritime historians, more than 3,500 sailors are stranded on some 200 ships in Ukrainian ports, according to London-based maritime tracker Windward Ltd.

The result is the closure of the world’s second largest grain exporting region. Ukraine accounts for 16% of world corn exports and, together with Russia, 30% of wheat exports. World wheat prices have jumped more than 55% since the week before the invasion.

“This shock to the global grain supply is the biggest supply shock since the OPEC oil cuts in the 1970s,” said Salvatore Mercogliano, a professor at Campbell University in North Carolina and a former sailor. trader. “It will mean food shortages in the Middle East and Africa, and inflation around the world.”

To make matters worse for global shippers, thousands of Ukrainian and Russian seafarers are stranded in ports around the world, leaving shipowners scrambling to find replacement crews to keep supply chains tight.

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