The Ukrainian government is planning to close all ports in Crimea to international shipping. According to a circular from P&I club Skuld, Ukraine’s Ministry of Infrastructure has issued a Directive No. 255 titled “On Closure of Sea Ports” , that would formally close sea ports in the Crimean region to international shipping. The directive affects the ports of Kerch, Theodosia, Sevastopol, Yalta, and Evpatoria.
The ports in the breakaway region are currently open and are effectively functioning as Russian ports.
According to a P&I Club correspondent, the directive means that if a vessel were to call at a port in Ukraine after a call at a port in the Crimean region, penalties could follow, such as delays, detention and fines. The circular added that formal prosecution steps could also be undertaken by Ukrainian authorities.
It’s too early to make predictions in respect of the consequences of vessel calls into Crimean ports, however the experts are unanimous that the closure of the ports may give Ukraine and other countries formal reasons to inspect or even detain vessels under the requirements of ISPS Code for vessels that have visited Crimea.
In addition, the EU has introduced trade sanctions in respect of goods originating in Crimea or Sevastopol.
The UK P&I Club says that members who are subject to the scope of application of the EU sanctions are advised to seek advice before fixing contracts for voyages from Crimea and Sevastopol.
The International Group of P&I Clubs has issued acircular on the EU sanctions that can be accessed HERE