In 2000-2005 the ITF Seafarers Trust provided grants to the Seafarers’ Union of Russia (SUR) to help implement a program to improve seafarers’ welfare. A number of seafarers’ clubs were built, including the “Novorossiysk International Seamen’s Centre”. Located centrally just outside the port, the centre provides internet and computers, wash facilities, pool table, chapel, money exchange and free use of a gym situated close by in SUR’s regional office. The centre manager Vitold Yatskevich and Sailors Society Chaplain Nikolay Motrenko are both highly respected within the local community. They work together in harmony with their team of dedicated volunteers, ensuring the multinational crew are made to feel welcome, providing free port transportation, ship welfare visits, and pastoral care when needed. The visiting seafarers also benefit from a dedicated port transportation system; the Sailors Society possesses an ITF Seafarers Trust grant funded Port Chaplain vehicle and the centre uses a SUR funded minibus, both of which are used to visit ships and transport crew to and from the centre.
Following interest from the International Confederation of Water Transport Workers Union (ICWTWU) and the ITF affiliated Seafarers’ Union of Russia (SUR), Roald Alyakrinsky, Vice President of the International League “Care of Seafarers” and former ICWTWU member, became the IPWP’s first Russian Ambassador. As a result of a substantial amount of preparatory work by Roald, the IPWP visited and helped set up the new Novorossiysk Port Welfare Council.
The Port of Novorossiysk is Russia's main port on the Black Sea and is home to the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy and an oil-pipeline terminal. It is also the terminus of the pipeline from the rich Tengiz Oil Field in western Kazakhstan, making it the biggest oil port on the Black Sea.
Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port (NCSP Group) is Russia's largest commercial seaport operator and the third largest port operator in Europe. The company is headquartered in the city of Novorossiysk and operates the Port of Novorossiysk and the Baltic ports of Primorsk and Baltiysk. The transport hub in Novorossiysk connects NCSP’s facilities at the Port to an extensive railroad and highway network providing access to the major industrial, agricultural and population centres and other key cargo origins and destinations in southern and central Russia, Transcaucasia and Central Asia.
Following an IPWP presentation, an inaugural welfare board meeting was held and initially chaired and translated by Roald Alyakrinsky. Representatives from key maritime organisations were in attendance and resolved to establish with immediate effect, the Novorossiysk Port Welfare Council. Members also unanimously endorsed the proposal for Roald Alyakrinsky to approve the texts of the Novorossiysk PWC Terms of Reference and Regulations.
Moving forward, the newly formed Port Welfare Council has been recommended to undertake a review of the seafarers’ welfare facilities in the port and consider the provision of drop-in centres at distant berths, port wide WiFi and port access for ship welfare visitors. The PWC is encouraged to consider the need to apply to maritime funding organisations to help financially support improvements to seafarers within the port
The IPWP team would like to record a special note of thanks and appreciation for Roald Alyakrinsky, whose hard work and commitment was key to the successful establishment of the Novorossiysk Port Welfare Council.