Ukraine - Correspondent updates on the ground
We are constantly monitoring the current situation and with the help of the Club’s local correspondents we are providing updates on the current operational status of ports. We would like to thank our correspondents for their efforts in what is an extremely difficult time.
Updated 4th April 2022
Dias Marine Consulting (Ukraine)
The situation has not changed dramatically since our last notification of 29.03.2022. The Ukraine have regained control over much of the northern territory and forced the Russian aggressor to retreat towards the borders of Russia.
All Ukrainian ports are still closed for inward/outward passages.
Regardless of the scenario of further military actions in the area of the Black Sea Ports, the restoration of navigation remains doubtful, as there are a large number of mines left by the Russian military and the location of many are still unknown.
Updated 29th March 2022
The situation in Ukraine has not changed considerably since our latest Notification dd. 25.03.2022 - All Ukrainian ports are still closed for inward/outward passages.
It is worthy of note that fighting has become more severe in Mykolaiv, Russian aggressor employs military aviation. There are still battles in Mariupol. Much of the city is destroyed and according to the latest numbers, more than 5,000 people have been killed. 170,000 civilians were evacuated and about 140,000 people are still trapped in the city.
A drifting mine was sighted on 28 March 2022 at 0810 hrs. in position 44°19.5' N 029°35.0' E, i.e. about 39 Nm ENE of Constantza Cape Midia.
The location was attended soon thereafter by the mine sweeper vessel "Viceamiral Constantin Balescu", having on board a team of explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) divers.
The drifting mine, identified as being of Ukrainian origin, was destroyed subsequently by explosives placed on the same, actuated remotely by the EOD divers.
Updated 25th March 2022
Black Sea Law Company (Ukraine)
On March 25, 2022, through the media, the Russian Federation published information about humanitarian corridors for the departure of cargo vessels from Ukrainian ports.
This information is false and not confirmed by the Ukrainian military and civil authorities.
We advise rely only on the information of the Ukrainian authorities in order to avoid the risks of incidents of shelling of cargo vessels in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
According to official reports from the Ukrainian government, including the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority (USPA), Ukrainian ports temporarily closed for inward/outward passages.
The Ukrainian Navy informed that provided Russian Federation’s notice about humanitarian corridors for cargo vessels dd 25.03.2022 is a provocation.
Updated 21st March 2022
Svertilov Marine Consulting (Ukraine)
Please be informed the current situation is more or less the same as it was on 18/03/22 but Russian navy continue blockade Ukrainian coastline of Black Sea and put the mines close to Danube river estuary - entrance to Black Sea (Ukrainian ports: Izmail, Reni, Ust-Dynaysk) so there is a serious risk for commercial shipping in the North part of Black Sea.
Moreover Russian navy bombarded Odessa today morning. Ukrainian shore artillery made a counter-strike response and one Russian war ship was damaged and sailed back. Moreover Russian Navy continue to bombard Mariupol - port on Azov Sea. Mariupol big steel plant - "Azovstal" is destroyed due to bombardment.
Ochakov port is under control of Ukraine and port is closed. All other ports under Ukrainian control are closed as well.
Ukrainian Army is expecting new attack from the Russian side in the nearest future.
Moreover under Odessa Military Administration order all food staff (meat, wheat, cereal, fruits, vegetables, water, product oils,confectionery, etc.) which are storing at containers at port's terminal's warehouses and storage sites of Ukrainian ports should be confiscated for the period of 17-23 March 2022 as per relevant act signed and issued by special commission of Military Administration. Compensation of cargo value to the cargo holders will be arranged on a later stage.
Meanwhile stevedores in Sweden and in several ports of USA refused to discharge the cargo from the ships with Russian cargoes onboard.
New EU/USA/UK sanctions package (sanctions package No 5) will be imposed within this week on Russian companies, commodities and traders.
Azovlloyd P&I Services Ltd (Ukraine)
Please note our update of the situation in the port of Mariupol. The city is under siege by the occupying troops of the Russian Federation, in some areas of the city there are street battles.
The city is 80% damaged, almost the entire infrastructure is proudly destroyed: there is no public supply, no electricity, no water supply.
The Maritime Administration of Ukraine has lost control over the port of Mariupol, about which an official statement was made in the press.
There are still (see our report dated 02/24/2022) five ships in the port. I believe that until the end of hostilities, they will not be able to leave the port of Mariupol, since the port services are not functioning. There is no evidence that the port and the ships located there were attacked.
The press reports that the Russian occupation troops have mined the approaches to the Ukrainian Black Sea ports of Odessa, Chernomorsk, Yuzhny, Ochakov.
However, the waves of the mines were torn off and carried south towards the Bosporus, which may pose a threat to navigation in the Black Sea.
In these difficult conditions, our company Azovlloyd PANDI Service continues to do its job to the best of its ability and provide all possible assistance to the Clubs and their members/insureds
Dias Company Ltd (Ukraine)
All Ukrainian ports are still closed for inward/outward passages.
These days heavy fighting take place near cities Mariupol, Kharkov, Kiev, Chernigov, Sumi. Last days humanitarian corridor has been opened for Mariupol refugees. Thousands of people
left the city. Mariupol is almost completely destroyed as well as the biggest in Ukraine steel manufacturing plant ‘Azovstal’.
Chernigiv city is heavily bombarded. It looks like Russian occupiers have as their goal to destroy Chernigiv in the same way how they did it with Mariupol.
Kherson and Berdyansk areas are occupied by Russian troops.
DIAS Marine Consulting is operating. Our team is partly busy, responding to dozens of inquiries from our Principals, as well as handling some remaining active cases of personal injury and loss of life.
Dmitriy Gololobov and Artyom Nanev with their families settled down in Odessa area. They continue to handle few cases on-line.
Natalya Daud, Natalia Kalinina, Slava Dinov and Igor Cherezov – in Odessa. Working on-line
Elena Nedyukha and Natalia Sachenko (company’s office manager) are abroad with their kids. Elena continue to handle on-line some running personal injury cases.
Andrey Kucher (DIAS Mariupol branch). We lost connection with him more than two weeks ago and his fate is still unknown yet.
Updated 18th March 2022
Svertilov Marine Consulting (Ukraine)
Please be informed the current situation on 18/03/22 in Ukraine as follows:
1. According to Ukrainian President's Decree the Martial Law in Ukraine is extended until 25 April 2022.
According to IMO circulars 94 foreign flagged vessels at the present moment are stuck at Ukrainian ports due to the war and their sailing is extremely dangerous and prohibited. Thus, vessels' departure is unsafe from the ports due to mines fields and bombardments. 3 commercial vessels were bombarded by Russian navy at Odessa harbour and one vessel sank. Crews were rescued by Ukrainian rescue teams and evacuated from Ukraine through Romania - Bucharest airport.
2. Unfortunately Ukrainian ports Kherson, Berdyansk, Ochakov currently under occupation by Russian troops. No ships traffic at these ports. As per our last information, 5 commercial vessels berthed at Berdyansk have been moved out from the berths by Russians in order to release the piers for military cargoes. Courts are closed at these cities and jurisdiction moved to other cities under Ukrainian control but hearings are not appointed.
3. Mariupol port is seriously destroyed by constant daily bombardment by Russian artillery and aviation. City is destroyed and in blockade, no fresh water supply, no electricity, not internet, al lot of civilians killed in the city (abt.20 000 casualties) by Russian troops, therefore bombardment of civilians at Mariupol has catastrophic consequences and might be classified as a war crime. Evacuation of civilians from Mariupol is commenced two days ago but evacuation process is quite slow. Thus, port is out of operation. Port is also blocked from Azov Sea by Russian navy and Kerch— Yenikkale canal (entrance to Azov Sea) is also under Russian control. Ships' traffic at Azov Sea is very limited because this is dangerous for the vessels. Courts at Mariupol is closed. As per Ukrainian Military Commanders' information to de-blockade, Mariupol is impossible at the moment due to Russian attacks from air and from Crimea.
4. Ports Odessa, Chornomorsk, Yuzhny, Nikolayev,and ports: Reni, Izmail, Ust-Dunaysk (three last ports are ports located on Danube river) are under Ukrainian control. However, vessels' inward and outward passages are prohibited due to military status. Some cargo operations in the ports takes place. Military Administration appointed in both regions - Odessa and Nikolayev and their orders mandatory for execution for Ukrainian Port Authorities, Harbour Masters too, road traffic at night is prohibited, to get a port passes for port terminals is a serious problem and terminals refuse to issue a pass for surveyors.
5. As per information from Chornomorsk Port Administration the barge 400 mt was sank intentionally on the waterway (approach) to the port in order to prevent the attack of Russian troops from the sea side, so any vessel's departure from the port is a problem now. Our shore artillery brigades and air defense forces are constantly in operation in order to avoid attack and bombardments of Odessa, Yuzhny, Chornomorsk (2 Russian military jets were shoot down, 1 military cruiser were sank). Russia has a plan to arrange landing of their troops for attack Odessa and all above-mentioned ports from the seaside. However, our Army keep the situation under control in case of Russian soldiers landing.
Moreover there are some risks in shipping due to the act of war in Ukraine:
6. Crew changing risks. Moreover there are a limitation to leave the country for Ukrainian men (age 18-60 years old) without special permit. Thus, any Ukrainian crew changing is not possible due to Martial Law. Ukrainian seafarers may return to Ukraine upon completion of their employment contracts without any problems.
7. Seamen repatriation risks. Airports of Odessa, Kyiv, are closed. Thus, any repatriation of Ukrainian seafarers including medical evacuations of injured seamen will be arranged through nearest airport in Romania (Bucharest) and Poland (Warsaw) and after that, seamen proceed to Ukraine by inland transportation.
8. Crew risks at Russian ports. Ukrainian crewmembers onboard the foreign flagged vessels which calling Russian ports are being interviewed by Russian Immigration Authorities and they may ask questions about their attitude to conflict in Ukraine, etc. so it may have negative effect for Ukrainian seamen from the side of Russian Authorities. Thus, Ukrainian crewmembers may refuse to visit Russian ports because this is dangerous for Ukrainian seamen.
9. Sanctions risks. Serious sanctions (5 packages of sanctions) imposed on many Russian companies and state employees, etc. Thus, we may recommend to make a due diligence of Cargo origins in dealing with Russian shippers, charterers, cargo receivers, etc. Russia is No 1 for sanctions in the world now.
10. Nuclear risks. Russian army keeps control under Chernobyl and Zaporozhye nuclear power stations and station's personnel actually as hostages now. UN Agency - AIEA is trying to solve this problem and take both nuclear stations under international control.
11. On 11 March 2022 IACS Board revoked membership of Russian Maritime Register of Shipping. Relevant notification letter was sent to all parties concerned.
Azovlloyd Pandi Services Ltd. (Ukraine)
The situation in Mariupol is terrible, 80% of the buildings are destroyed by air bombardments. Almost the entire infrastructure in the city has been destroyed. There is no electricity, water or gas supply in the city. During this week, the barbarians made it possible for people to evacuate from the city. Some of our employees still remain in the city of Mariupol, the other part left Mariupol for Berdyansk and other cities of Ukraine.
The port of Mariupol and the ships in our port have not yet been subjected to the bombardment and shelling. However, the Maritime Administration of Ukraine has lost contact with the Mariupol port Authorities.
Updated 17th March 2022
AXIS Ltd. (Russia)
Please kindly note the situation at Taman and on approaches to port remains safe and stable, without any changes, risks, concerns, or any restrictions in connection with the on-going situation in Ukraine and the latest geopolitical developments.
All port terminals continue routine operations.
Updated 11th March 2022
Antarica Group (Russia)
Currently there has been no new developments.
The Russian Black Sea ports remain fully open and unaffected by any military activity.
The Azov Sea remains restricted for shipping, however, the Russian ports there are operational.
AXIS Ltd. (Russia)
Please note the situation at the Russian ports and on approaches remains safe and stable, without any changes, risks, or concerns.
Ports and all their terminals continue routine operations.
Updated 7th March 2022
Svertilov Marine Consulting (Odessa/Ukraine)
Please be informed current update as following:
Today, 07/03/22 Russian troops bombarded Olvia port - Nikolayev region.
Kherson sea and river ports is closed. This area is under control of Russian troops.
Berdyansk port is under control of Russian troops as well.
Ochakov port was under bombarded.
Mariupol port at Azov Sea - there are heavy street battles in the city, city is under blockade by Russians but our Army continue to fight, port is closed and damaged, constant bombardment on daily basis. City is destroyed, no water, no electricity in the city.
Missiles attack of Russians on Vinitsa military airport. Kharkiv, Chernigov cities seriously destroyed by bombs of Russian army.
Ports: Odessa, Nikolayev, Yuzhny, Chornomorsk, Izmail, Ust-Dunaysk, Reni ports are under control of Ukraine.
Odessa coastline is actual defence line with field of mines, anti-tanks constructions, etc.
Last days several merchant vessels were bombarded by Russian military vessels on Odessa anchorage. One merchant vessel sank. Crew were rescued and repatriated home from Ukraine trough Romania.
All operations in the ports are very limited. Military Governors appointed at Odessa and Nikolayev regions. Martial Law is in force. Traffic is limited. Check points on the roads.
Serious battles with Russian paratroopers on outskirts of Nikolayev city nearby the airport, constant bombardment of the civilians by Russian artillery, etc.
Open ports are only on Danube river - Reni, Izmail, Ust-Dunaysk. Military cargoes is a matter of priority. However situation is changing very fast.
All civil airports are closed in Ukraine. Problems with the seamen repatriation and medical evacuation of sick and injured seamen.
Updated 4th March 2022
Please refer to the attached circular – ‘Circumstances in Georgia in respect of Russia & Ukraine Conflict’ which can be downloaded below.
Inchcape Shipping Services (Gibraltar)
The Policy of the Government is not to provide access to Gibraltar Port, or any services, supplies or facilities provided by or from Gibraltar Port, to any ship which you have reason to believe is:
- Owned, controlled, charted or operated by any person connected with Russia;
- Owned, controlled, charted or operated by Designated Persons;
- Flying the Russian flag;
- Registered in Russia; or
- Carrying any load or cargo which is in the ownership of or destined to be delivered to any persons connected with Russia or Designated Persons.
Updated 3rd March 2022
Dias Marine Consulting (Ukraine)
All Ukrainian ports are still closed for inward/outward passages. In the Nikolaev region, near the port of Olvia, a Russian rocket hit a foreign vessel, the fire was localized, one victim – a dead crew member.
Vitsan AS (Turkey)
We confirm Turkey can handle cargo and container destined for Russia and allows discharge and transshipments in Turkish ports.
However, as will be appreciated the circumstances are rapidly changing and before any call to Turkey for any cargo operation related to Russia, we recommend the Club or the Members should always check with us and with their local agents the latest status.
General – Crew Related
There are now reports that there have been incidents of the Russian border services questioning Ukrainian crew in the port of Kaliningrad. The border service may ask general questions about a crewmember's attitude to the current situation. There is no mentioned of any provocation or threats to safety of any crew.
We have also been made aware that Ukrainian seafarers are subjected to strict personal inspection by local authorities in the port of Murmansk.
It is strongly recommended that any Ukrainian crew should check their mobile devices/laptops for any messages they may have sent or comments they may have posted on social media regarding the current conflict, which the Russian authorities could detain and question them about.
Axis Ltd. (Russia)
In view of the latest rumours and fears in connection with the North-East part of the Black Sea, may we kindly clarify as follows.
- It is safe for vessels to continue calling the Russian ports situated on the Black Sea coast / North-East part of the sea, including Novorossiysk, Kavkaz, Taman, Tuapse. The same applies to OPL area located beyond the Russian territorial waters in the North-East part of the Black Sea.
- Neither vessels in general nor the Ukrainian crewed vessels are at risk/more risk in the North-East part of the Black Sea or while visiting the Russian ports.
- Concerns about the North-East part of the Black Sea being unsafe have no grounds and may well originate from misunderstanding or simply a typo on the side of a source of information. For example, after announcement of a partial closure of the Sea of Azov for navigation many mistakenly thought from the beginning that the below said navigational warnings were related to the Sea of Azov and not the North-West part of the Black Sea.
The following snapshot demonstrates the usual intensive traffic of a merchant fleet in the dangerous area indeed continued on 25 February last week, notwithstanding navigational warnings announced on 24 February.
Three vessels in the area were hit by bomb/missiles shortly afterwards.
Last week we warned the Clubs and their Members about the following coastal warnings announced for the North-West part of the Black Sea:
1. Navigational warning No. 91 ‘in connection with the implementation of anti-terrorist measures from 04:00 24 February 2022 for all vessels in the North-Western part of the Black Sea to North of parallel 45-21n the navigation is prohibited until further notice. The vessels wishing to leave the closed area and ports in the period until 16:00 24.02.2022 are to follow the recommended routes HP 44 and HP 60 in the band of the sea with a width of no more than 4 miles’.
2. Ukrainian coastal warning
To recap, the vessels can continue to safely call at the ports situated at the North-East part of the Black Sea.
Ports and all their terminals operate in a usual manner, without any safety-related or specific issues, risks, concerns, procedures or formalities over and above the routine operations.
Murmansk P&I Agency (Russia)
We can confirm the port of Murmansk is operating normally.
Updated 1st March 2022
Dias Marine Consulting (Ukraine)
Dias have confirm that the update they provided yesterday regarding the ports in the Ukraine are still valid, i.e.
Armed hostilities are still conducted in many regions of Ukraine. They also occur near the ports of Mariupol, Nikolaev, Kherson. In the area of Odessa Port, the situation is to a greater or lesser extent peaceful. All the Ukrainian Ports are closed for inward/outward passages. This decision is highly justified, given the fact that in this area three foreign vessels were fired shells at by Russian warships.
They also advised it is unlikely any vessels currently at a Ukrainian port will be able to depart anytime soon and this will be the case for the very near future at least.
Antarica Group (Russia)
No restrictions for Novorossiysk, including Oil terminals, therefore Members are fully free to call the port.
Updated 28th February 2022
Axis Ltd. (Russia)
We confirm it is safe to call at Taman and the adjacent STS area of Kavkaz in all respects.
Dias Co. Ltd. (Ukraine)
Armed hostilities are being still conducted in many regions of the Ukraine. They also occur near the ports of Mariupol, Nikolaev, Kherson. In the area of Odessa Port, the situation is to a greater or lesser extent peaceful. It is hoped negotiations between representatives of Ukraine and Russia will begin shortly in the area of the Pripyat River on the Ukraine - Belarus border.
All the Ukrainian Ports are closed for inward/outward passages. This decision is highly justified, given the fact that in this area three foreign vessels were struck by shells from Russian warships.
Updated 27th February 2022
Axis Ltd. (Russia)
Ships currently in Taman can stay until completion of the planned cargo operations and then safely depart. In addition, we would not expect any specific or extra requirements from the authorities over and above the standard outward clearance formalities.
May we reconfirm that there are no risks and/or safety concerns for Members' vessel at Taman in light of the on-going situation in Ukraine.
2. EU sanctions against Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port
You may have noticed the recent additional financial restrictions against a number of the Russian entities, including Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port (NCSP), the largest port operator in Russian, as per Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/331 of 25 February 2022 amending Decision 2014/145/CFSP concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32022D0327&from=EN also attached for ease of reference.
You will note from the web-site https://nmtp.info/en/ that NCSP Group operates terminals at ports of Novorossiysk (Black Sea), Primorsk and Kaliningrad (Baltic Sea).
The NCSP Group includes 9 stevedoring companies. Among them is the largest stevedoring company in Russia which is also named Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port (Public Joint Stock Company "Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port"):
It has already raised some doubts of the Ship Owners and Charterers as to whether calling at Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port would be a breach of the latest EU sanction regulation. For example, a crew change on a vessel initially planned during loading at Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port has been cancelled by the Owners.
Although it is unclear whether the new EU restrictions are imposed on the whole group of NCSP or one of its stevedoring companies PJSC NCSP (Public Joint Stock Company "Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port"), it is important to note that Article 1, points 4 and 4(a) of the Decision 2014/512/CFSP stipulate the following:
(1) Article 1 is replaced by the following:
4. It shall be prohibited to directly or indirectly purchase, sell, provide investment services for or assistance in the issuance of, or otherwise deal with transferable securities and money-market instruments, issued after 12 April 2022 by:
(a) a legal person, entity or body established in Russia, which is publicly controlled or with over 50 % public ownership and in which Russia, its Government or Central Bank has the right to participate in profits or with which Russia, its Government or Central Bank has other substantial economic relationships, as listed in Annex VI;
List of legal persons, entities and bodies referred to in Article 1(4)(a) is provided in the ANNEX VI, where Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port is mentioned among others.
As far as we understand from the amended edition of Article 1, these new Financial restrictions imposed on NCSP prohibit dealings with transferable securities and money-market instruments but they do not affect in any respect the vessels’ calls at Novorossiysk port and operations at NCSP terminal (mooring, cargo operations, supplies or bunkering).
For the sake of good order, may we kindly propose consulting the lawyers based in the EU for their interpretation of the latest sanction measured applied to Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port to ensure the Members can continue to call at PJSC NCSP terminal based at Novorossiysk port and the stevedoring companies affiliated with NCSP Group from the sanction point of view.