Ukraine & Crimea – Port of Kerch
22 July 2014
Further to the Club’s recent News Alerts on the official closure of Crimean ports by Ukrainian authorities on 16 July 2014 (click here) and EU sanctions banning the import into the EU of goods originating from Crimea (click here), we have received from the Correspondent in Ukraine, Dias Marine Consulting, the below clarification of the situation at the Port of Kerch in Crimea and loading at anchorage:-
“Port of Kerch
These days we are getting many inquiries in respect of the loading operations in the port of Kerch. To help our Principals and their Members we would like to explain the situation. In Kerch loading of the cargo (grain, in particular) is carried out at the anchorage, far away from the shore. Ships at this anchorage do not get “free pratique”, in other words they are not cleared by the Immigration, Customs and Sanitary authorities. Thus, formally it is considered that they do not call Kerch port and do not enter the Crimean territory. At least neither port’s registries nor ships’ logs bear any official information/notes about any ships’ calls at the port. Such practice had developed long before the annexation of Crimea and was then explained, I believe, by mere commercial reasons as a ship at an anchorage does not have to pay any port dues/charges, which were always high in the Ukrainian ports.
To summarize what was said above we can conclude that for the present day the ships which were staying under loading operation at the anchorage of the Kerch port were not entered in the black-list of the Ukrainian authorities.
It should be borne in mind that the anchorage point of the Kerch port is about 4 miles from the shore. As per the Russian legislation a 12 miles zone is considered as territorial waters of the country. Formally, foreign ships may only be within this area in case of transit passage or proceeding to the port of loading/discharge. As Russia had annexed the Crimea its laws are now in force on this territory. Therefore, loading of the ships at an anchorage point of the port of Kerch is still effected within the territorial waters of Crimea as a part of the Russian Federation. Taking this into account one can arrive to a conclusion that there is still a possibility that the ships which are/were staying under loading operations at a Kerch anchorage may happen to be inserted into the said black-list as the situation in this regard is ambiguous and can be considered by the Ukrainian authorities in different ways.”
Members ordered under existing charters to load at Kerch or who are considering calling at Kerch in the future should review the position carefully bearing in mind the uncertain situation for vessels calling there, as well as the EU sanctions banning the import into the EU of goods originating from Crimea.