Greece has requested the urgent convening of the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) board to discuss maritime and merchant seamen’s safety in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, due to the situation in Ukraine following the Russian invasion.

The request followed a relevant initiative by the EU’s French presidency, with Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Cyprus and Malta subsequently making the same request.

A similar request was made by the United States and Australia.

A heavy Russian naval presence has been fielded in the northern Black Sea, whereas under-attack Ukraine announced on Feb. 25 that it was closing its ports to commercial shipping and not allowing the sailing of docked vessels.

At least four attacks against commercial vessels in the Black Sea have been reported since the invasion, with seamen injured in the three of the attacks.