Ukraine: Port issues

Port news

Published: 21 April 2015

Members will be aware that Ukraine continues to experience a difficult situation with respect to conflict in certain parts of the country. In the meantime it remains a major port of call nation for exports, including grain shipments.

Port of Yuzhny, Ukraine (Source: Open source)

Surveyor access to Yuzhny Port

The Association has previously advised that there are at times significant challenges in obtaining port access in Ukraine, particularly at short notice. Most recently correspondents have informed the Association that with respect to the Port of Yuzhny additional issues have now arisen.

Surveyors need to and can have permanent permits for access to the piers for the loading of urea in bulk, but no such permanent pass system is in place with respect to piers where iron ore concentrates or steel cargoes are being loaded. In order to have such access, it is necessary to apply to the port administration at least three days in advance before the ships' arrival. This cannot be done at weekends or during holidays. An additional factor is that such application may need to be completed in person, not via local shipping agents, and that means possible repeat trips to the port in order to complete all necessary processes.

That means if a P&I surveyor is to be sent on location at short notice, there could be significant delay before he can arrive and attend to a vessel.

While urgent developments and accidents cannot be predicted, routine cargo operations are able to be planned ahead, and should a surveyor be required then the strong recommendation to members is to give notice to the Association well in advance of a vessel's arrival, no less than three days in any event, so that the necessary local arrangements can be put in place. Otherwise significant delay could follow.

General safety

A ceasefire between the warring sides continues to be officially in place, but there is a persistent low level conflict that affects mainly the eastern areas of Ukraine, bordering Russia. Overall the situation remains very serious and it is not possible to predict where and when a further outbreak of hostilities may take place and what that could involve. The security situation is therefore a significant risk factor, but mainly for entering certain areas on land.

The general port situation remains calm, including at the eastern Port of Mariupol, but correspondents continue to advise vessels to proceed with some caution and not arrange any shore leave while at Mariupol or surrounding areas.

Sanctions and Ukrainian law

Members may be aware that recently a foreign flagged vessel was detained in Ukraine after making port calls to areas presently outside of the control of the official Ukrainian government. The details about this situation are limited, but Ukraine had passed laws that would allow for legal action to be taken against vessels that called at such areas in certain circumstances. Members are reminded to take great care with respect to such risks and carefully consider any kind of operation that may see a vessel call at, transit through, or use services at a place that is not within the control of an official internationally recognised government authority.

In the meantime sanctions passed by the United States and the European Union remain in place.

Further reading

The Association has previously published a number of articles and guides with respect to Ukrainian matters.

With respect to sanction issues, Skuld also has a dedicated resource section.

For vessel specific enquiries, members are asked to contact their usual Skuld business unit.

The Association is grateful to correspondents DIAS and CIS for their contribution to this update.