North P&I Club has today issued a statement saying: “The current situation in Ukraine is fast moving. Dangerous sea areas and changes in the operational status of ports may occur at any time. Updates received from correspondents are published below. You are strongly advised to contact local agents for the latest advice should you have a vessel trading to Ukraine.
“The sanctions situation is expected to develop rapidly. A whole range of onerous sanctions against Russian entities has been reported as being in preparation. Our team will report on new sanctions as they are rolled out. Please contact a member of the Sanctions Advice Team for guidance.”
North then publishes a report by Odessa-based correspondent Dias Marine Consulting as follows:
• All Ukrainian ports remain closed for inbound and outbound passages
• Armed hostilities continue near the ports of Mariupol, Nikolaev and Kherson.
• The Odessa region (including Yuzhny) was subject to intermittent attacks by Russian air forces and landing troops over the weekend.
• Today, negotiations between representatives of Ukraine and Russia will begin in the area of the Pripyat River on the Ukraine – Belarus border.
It adds the following situation report from Russia-based correspondent Antarica Group:
• The port security level for Russian Black Sea ports has elevated to level 2 – port and cargo operations are unaffected
• All Russian ports in Sea of Azov are operational. Vessel movements within port limits is restricted
• The entrance to the Kerch Strait from the Black Sea (northbound) is closed. However, the Strait is available without limitation for the vessels leaving the Sea of Azov (southbound)
• Port of Taman STS anchorage is limited with cargo operations as no shipping supply cargoes for storage vessels are available from the Sea of Azov and inland waterways.
• No restrictions exist against Ukrainian crew on board vessels; medical assistance is rendered as regularly to all seafarers, including Ukrainians.
The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) has issued Ship Security Advisory 02-22 which can be read here. The advisory states:
“Effective immediately, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Maritime Administrator…is requiring a setting of SHIP SECURITY LEVEL III for all RMI-registered vessels operating in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of Ukraine or Russia within the Black Sea. Commercial vessels should not attempt to enter the Sea of Azov since access will be denied by Russian military forces. This requirement will be closely monitored and amended as appropriate.”
The advisory further includes a report of a Marshall Islands registered bulk carrier suffering significant damage to the deck and bridge area whilst drifting approximately 50 nautical miles (nm) South of Odessa. Pending further investigation, the damage is initially thought to be caused by a projectile.
RMI also provides the following guidance:
• Commercial vessels are advised to avoid any transit or operation within the EEZ of Ukraine or Russia within the Black Sea.
• Access to the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait is currently blocked by Russian forces.
• All Ukrainian ports have been closed by the Ukrainian military.
• If a vessel is located at a Ukrainian port, plans to depart should be arranged as soon as safely possible.
• Access to the northwest Black Sea, north of 45° 21’ is restricted by the Russian Navy.
• Vessels must ensure the automatic identification system (AIS) is always transmitting (except when the master believes that continuing to operate AIS might compromise the safety or security of the ship or when a security incident is imminent), consistent with provisions of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and monitor VHF Channel 16.
• Any vessels challenged by Russian military vessels should comply fully with instructions.
• Armed security personnel are not to be embarked while operating in the Black Sea.