Ukraine – Closure of Crimean Ports

16 July 2014

Members will already be aware of the sensitive political situation in Crimea and the conditions at various ports as reported in the Club’s recent News Alerts (click here). In addition, the Club’s News Alert of 8 July 2014 (click here) drew Members’ attention to the EU Sanctions banning the import into the EU of goods originating from Crimea or Sevastopol.

The Correspondent in Ukraine, Dias Marine Consulting, now reports that the Ukrainian Ministry of Infrastructure has issued Directive No.255 “On Closure of Sea Ports” (click here for the Ukrainian Government press release and click here for the Correspondent’s report). The Directive, due to come into force on 15 July 2014, officially closes all ports in the territory of Crimea on the basis that the area is temporarily occupied. This includes, but is not limited to, the ports of Kerch, Theodosia, Sevastopol, Yalkta and Evpatoria.

The Correspondent also advises that, where vessels call in the Ukraine after having traded to/from a Crimean port, the consequences could include (but potentially not be limited to) delays, detention and/or  fines for both vessel and crew. It is presently unclear what (if any) administrative measures may be implemented in the Ukraine to avoid such consequences.

Given the above, careful consideration should be given to the legal implications for vessels currently due to call at Crimean ports under existing charters/contracts, both in terms of:

  1. EU Sanctions banning the import into the EU of goods originating from Crimea or Sevastopol; and

  2. the consequences of such a call should the vessel later call in the Ukraine.

Further, going forward, consideration should be given to contractual measures that might be taken to try to avoid and/or negate such problems in future charters.