At a meeting in Odessa in the Ukraine on Wednesday 27 February seafarer welfare organisations agreed to come together to form an umbrella association. The meeting included local representatives from Mission to Seafarers, Sailors Society, Stella Maris, the Seamans Club in Odessa, Maritime Piracy Humanitarian Response Programme and unions. Seafarer welfare organisations in the Ukraine are facing problems with funding their services and also gaining access to ports and seafarers. The meeting was addressed by Roger Harris, Executive Director of the ICSW who spoke about the importance of the Maritime Labour Convention, now ratified by 35 countries, and how the organisation could support the development of seafarers' welfare in the Ukraine.
On Thursday 28 February the new Port Welfare Committee in Odessa met for the first time. The Committee included representatives from the port, coast guard, immigration, unions, ship agents, and welfare organisations. Roger Harris also addressed this meeting and spoke about the importance of establishing Port Welfare Committees to co-ordinate welfare services and facilities for seafarers. He also stressed the benefits of providing welfare for seafarers in ports. The new Maritime Labour Convention, that comes into force in August 2013, encourages the setting up of welfare committees at a national, regional, and local level.