War in Ukraine: Latest developments

Published: 8 March 2022 Updated:

The Russian and Ukrainian flags (illustration)

We are following the situation in Ukraine closely and will continually publish information received from our correspondents. The situation is unpredictable and status of ports and sea areas may change quickly. For vessels trading to Ukraine you are strongly advised to contact local agents.

Either as a direct consequence of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict or as an indirect consequence we have learned about the following implications on shipping:

Week 21 ; 23-27 May 2022

Updated 23 May 2022

1. Travel implications
  • All commercial flights to the Ukraine have come to a halt due to the war.
  • The European airspace, the airspace of the UK, the USA and Canada are closed for Russian airplanes; Russia has implemented a reciprocal ban on its airspace for European, British, American, and Canadian planes.
  • Russia extended the temporary closure to the following 11 Russian airports until 25 May: Anapa, Belgorod, Bryansk, Voronezh, Gelendzhik, Krasnodar, Kursk, Lipetsk, Rostov-on-Don, Simferopol and Elista.
  • For crew of any nationality travelling to or through Russia, we strongly recommend to not comment either in person or on social media on the current conflict between Russia and the Ukraine. We want to point out that especially terms like "war", "invasion", etc. should not be used. The crew should, even if they feel provoked, not comment on politics or mention that they want to join the soldiers in Ukraine when dealing with Russian authorities, to avoid any consequences that could result in a jail sentence. Russian authorities may scroll through mobile phones and social media Apps in search for anti-Russian comments or postings. We recommend refraining from making any comments on social media about the war in Ukraine when travelling to or through Russia; and if such comments were made on social media accounts previously, to delete them before meeting Russian border control.
2. Local implications in the Ukraine
  • Odessa Port is closed. Cargo operations are suspended for commercial operations. Odessa Port has geographically been removed from the frontline, but Russian strikes have occurred against targets in the Odessa Oblast, including some direct targeting of Odessa city. A significant conflict escalation is unlikely in the near term.
  • Pivdenny (formerly: Yuzhny) Port is closed. Cargo operations are suspended for commercial operations. Pivdenny Port has geographically been removed from the frontline, but some Russian strikes have taken place previously, including in the nearby city of Yuzhny. A significant conflict escalation is unlikely in the near term.
  • Mykolaiv Port is closed. Cargo operations are suspended for commercial operations. Mykolaiv Port is under control of Ukrainian forces although strikes and shelling by Russian forces of targets in or near the city do occur. A significant offensive against the city is unlikely to take place in the near term.
  • Mariupol Port is closed. Cargo operations are suspended for commercial operations. The city is besieged by Russian forces.
  • Kherson Port is closed. Cargo operations are suspended for commercial operations. The city is located behind the Russian frontline. Reports indicate occasional overnight stays by Russian army units but no permanent presence.
  • Ukraine Danube ports are open and operating. The river Danube ports of Izmail, Reni and Ust-Dunaisk are operating and handling ship calls via the River Danube and the Sulina Canal. ISPS Level 3 should be set.
  • Ukrainian P&I correspondents Dias Marine Consulting remain online and are available.
  • Ukraine declared in a Circular Letter No. 4544 of 31 March 2022, addressed to the IMO, that due to the aggression of the Russian Federation and drifting mines, the safety of international shipping by way of a "Blue Corridor" in the Black Sea cannot be guaranteed.
  • NATO warns of collateral damage caused by drifting mines in the Northwest, West, and Southwest areas of the Black Sea. National authorities are working to find and neutralize any other mines in the region. Masters should take all precautions to mitigate the mine threat including avoiding floating objects, keep the forward area of the ship clear of crew, and using effective lookouts. Merchant vessels are also reminded to monitor the local authorities' broadcasts for the latest Navigational Warnings. Vessels are recommended to ensure automatic identification system (AIS) is always transmitting (except when the master believes AIS operation might compromise the safety or security of the ship), consistent with provisions of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and monitor VHF Channel 16. It is recommended to continue to transmit your AIS signal throughout the Black Sea, containing basic identification information as a minimum.
  • NATO also released the following Guide to Owners.
  • In general, if it is at all commercially possible, we recommend to not send vessels to the Northern Black Sea.
3. Effects on shipowners operating vessels with Ukrainian crew
  • If Ukrainian crew want to be repatriated, we recommend to Members to avoid repatriating them via Russia or Belarus if possible.
  • If Ukrainian crew arrived at the end of their respective contracts but do not want to return to the Ukraine, they can stay in the EU. More information for staying in any of the EU countries can be found on the webpages of the European Commission.
4. Effects or restrictions in other countries
5. Regional implications
  • Constanta (Romania) Port is open and operating, with additional cargo diverted to Constanta from Odessa.
  • Russian Black Sea ports are open with restrictions. Russian Black Sea ports appear to be operating normally, although ISPS level 2 might lead to operational delays. Be aware that there is increased scrutiny against crew. Extra constraints and demands related to vessels with Ukrainian crew members are being reported.
  • Russian Sea of Azov ports are open with restrictions, although the Sea of Azov is currently closed to navigation. Russian Azov ports appear to be operating normally, although ISPS level 2 might lead to operational delays. Be aware that there is increased scrutiny against crew. Extra constraints and demands related to vessels with Ukrainian crew members are being reported.
  • The Kerch Strait is open for navigation within but closed for unauthorized transit, as the Sea of Azov remains closed to navigation. Ports located within the strait are reported to be operating. Be aware that there is increased scrutiny against crew. Extra constraints and demands related to vessels with Ukrainian crew members are being reported.
  • Russian Baltic Sea is open. Constraints and demands related to vessels with Ukrainian crew members are reported.
  • Russian North is open. Constraints and demands related to vessels with Ukrainian crew members are reported.
  • Russian East is open. Constraints and demands related to vessels with Ukrainian crew members are reported.
  • The Turkish Naval Forces Office of Navigation, Hydrography and Oceanography has been releasing NAVTEX warnings to vessels sailing in the Black Sea region ever after the first mine was found at the northern entrance of Istanbul Strait.
6. Effects on Russian shipowners
7. Other effects

 

Week 20 ; 16-20 May 2022

Summary update of calendar week 20

Security updates

 

Week 14 ; 4-8 April 2022

Summary update of calendar week 14

Security updates
  • The Joint War Committee released a new circular with the reference JWLA-030.
  • BIMCO is very doubtful that the current situation would qualify as a "War Risk" under CONWARTIME 2013 and VOYWAR 2013 for Russian ports not within the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, and BIMCO believes it to be rather unlikely that the BIMCO War Risk clauses can be invoked for these ports. BIMCO however points out that it is important to note that their assessment can change depending on the current situation at Russian ports. BIMCO recommends monitoring the situation closely.
  • On 6 April 2022 the NATO Shipping Centre (NSC) warned of risk of collateral damage in the North-Western, Western, and southwest Black Sea.
    The NSC issued a warning that there is a threat of drifting mines in the Northwest, West, and Southwest areas of the Black Sea. It is advised by the NSC that any sightings of mine-like objects should be reported to coastal authorities and shipping should remain well clear of the hazard. NSC strongly advises masters to take all precautions to mitigate the threat including avoiding floating objects, keep the forward area of the ship clear of crew, and using effective lookouts. Merchant vessels are also reminded by the NSC to monitor the local authorities' broadcasts for the latest Navigational Warnings.
    NSC stated that the threat of collateral damage or direct hits on civilian shipping in the War Risk Area (NAVAREA III 0124/2022) of the Black Sea area remains HIGH.
    The latest list of NAVWARNS in force are accessible in detail on the link: NAVAREA III warnings in force (defensa.gob.es).
    Please find below map depicting NAVIGATION WARNINGS in force on 04 April 2022, which have been issued by Spanish Hydrographic Office NAVAREA COORD III:

Source: Spanish Hydrographic Office (Instituto Hidrográfico de la Marina, IHM).

  • Vessels are recommended to ensure automatic identification system (AIS) is always transmitting (except when the master believes AIS operation might compromise the safety or security of the ship), consistent with provisions of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and monitor VHF Channel 16. It is recommended to continue to transmit your AIS signal throughout the Black Sea, containing basic identification information as a minimum. Please report any incident to NSC by email to: info@shipping.nato.int.
Other developments

The International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) warned of drifting mines threatening seafarers' lives.

The ITF and the Joint Negotiating Group (JNG) – the social partners of the International Bargaining Forum (IBF) – met on Thursday, 31 March 2022, to evaluate and discussed solutions that will ensure that seafarers, and their vessels, aren't collateral damage in the continuing conflict in Ukraine. The IBF designated the Northern Black Sea Region, the Sea of Azov (north of latitude 46°N) and all ports in Ukraine Warlike Operations Areas (WOAs) in early March.

"We strongly urge governments to do all in their power to mitigate the threat and secure the safe passage for vessels trading near these conflict areas. It is essential that the world's seafarers can continue to perform their duties safely, and keep global supply chains moving," said David Heindel, chair of the ITF Seafarers' Section.

 

Week 13 ; 28 March - 1 April 2022

Summary update of calendar week 13

Sanctions/Trade restrictions

On 29 March 2022, Japan approved a ban on exports of luxury cars and other items to Russia as part of economic sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.

Security updates
  • A military diving team deactivated a second stray naval mine off Turkey's northwest coast on 28 March 2022, Turkey's defense ministry said.
  • The Turkish Naval Forces Office of Navigation, Hydrography and Oceanography released the following NAVTEX to warn vessels sailing in the Black Sea region after the first mine was found at the northern entrance of Istanbul Strait on 26 March 2022:
    ------
    BLACK SEA
    1. DRIFTING MINE DETECTED AND DEACTIVATED IN THE NORTH APROACH OF ISTANBUL STRAIT.
    2. IT IS ADVICED FOR ALL SHIPS IN THE VICINITY TO RESPECT TO THE MEASURES AGAINST MINE/MINE LIKE OBJECTS PROMULGATED PREVIOUSLY BY BA86-279/22 NUMBERED NAVIGATIONAL WARNING.
    3. IN THIS CONTEXT, IT IS REQUESTED FROM SHIPS IN THE VICINITY TO CONTINUE SHARP LOOK OUT, TO REPORT IMMEDIATELY ANY DETECTION OF DRIFTING MINE OR MINE LIKE OBJECTS TO TURKISH RADIO (CH-16), TURKISH MAIN SEARCH AND RESCUE COORDINATION CENTER, (00903122324783, SAR@UAB.GOV.TR/TRMRCC@UAB.GOV.TR) TURKISH NAVAL FORCES (00903124032222, DENKOM.HAREKATMRK@DZKK.TSK.TR) AND TURKISH COAST GUARD (00903124164801, IHBAR@SG.GOV.TR).
    ------
    Previously, in addition to the above, the NAVTEX quoted below was released, alerting vessels to safe navigation and careful lookout for any potential mines/floating objects drifting in the sea:
    ------
    BLACK SEA
    1. IT WAS REPORTED THAT THE APPROACHES OF THE PORTS ODESSA, OCHAKOV, CHERNOMORSK AND YUZHNYY WERE MINED.
    2. THE MINES CAN BE DRIFTED UPON RELEASED FROM THEIR GEAR AND CAN BE DANGEROUS TO NAVIGATIONAL SAFETY.
    3. THEREFORE, IT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP SHARP LOOK OUT FOR DRIFTED MINES BY ALL SHIPS IN THE VICINITY.
    4. IT IS REQUESTED FROM SHIPS IN THE VICINITY TO REPORT IMMEDIATELY ANY DETECTION OF DRIFTED MINE OR MINE LIKE OBJECTS TO TURKISH RADIO (CH-16), TURKISH MAIN SEARCH AND RESCUE COORDINATION CENTER, (00903122324783, SAR@UAB.GOV.TR/TRMRCC@UAB.GOV.TR) TURKISH NAVAL FORCES (00903124032222, DENKOM.HAREKATMRK@DZKK.TSK.TR) AND TURKISH COAST GUARD (00903124164801, IHBAR@SG.GOV.TR).
    ------
    The website can be found here.
     
  • Romanian naval sources stated that a floating naval mine of unknown type and origin was found 40 NM off the Romanian city of Midi, North of Constanta. A Romanian minesweeper disposed of the mine on 28 March 2022. The Romanian Navy also carried out general minesweeping operations within Romania waters.
  • NATO warned on 30 March 2022 of drifting mines detected Northwest, West, and Southwest areas of the Black Sea, with national authorities working to find and neutralize any other mines in the region. Masters should take all precautions to mitigate the mine threat including avoiding floating objects, keep the forward area of the ship clear of crew, and using effective lookouts.
  • A significant number of navigation warnings have been issued by NAVAREA COORDINATOR III (responsible for broadcasting NAVAREA warnings on the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov). Below is a map depicting NAVIGATION WARNINGS in force on 30 March 2022, which have been issued by Spanish Hydrographic Office NAVAREA COORD III.
    The latest list of NAVWARNS in force are accessible in details via the link: NAVAREA III warnings in force (defensa.gob.es).
  • On 31 March 2022, Ukraine, as a member of the IMO, addressed Circular Letter No. 4544 regarding the activities of the Russian Federation's Navy in the Black Sea.
    According to said letter, Ukraine declares that due to the aggression of the Russian Federation and drifting mines, the safety of international shipping cannot be guaranteed.
 

Week 12 ; 21-25 March 2022

Summary update of calendar week 12

For week 12 of 2022 we can summarize the following developments:

Sanctions/Trade restrictions
International bodies or organisations
  • The Ukraine Crisis Support Fund is a small grant fund for seafarers and their families who have been impacted by the Ukraine crisis and need urgent financial support. The fund is being managed by the International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) on behalf of the Seafarers International Relief Fund (SIRF). More information can be found here.
  • The European Commission set up a website which gives practical information to Ukrainian citizens (incl. seafarers) of how to settle in the EU. The information is provided in the English, Ukrainian and Russian language.
Other developments

 

Week 11 ; 14-18 March 2022

Summary update of calendar week 11

For week 11 of 2022 we can summarize the following developments:

Sanctions/Trade restrictions

Canada adopted a new sanction affecting ships that are "chartered, in whole or in part by or for the benefit of a person in Russia".

The EU agreed fourth package of restrictive measures against Russia which included new designations, a ban on investments in the Russian energy sector, a ban on iron, steel and luxury goods and a prohibition to deal with certain state-owned entities.

Australia placed sanctions on 11 additional Russian banks and government entities, with the majority of the country's banking assets now covered by our sanctions along with all of the entities that handle Russia's sovereign debt.

New Zealand added 13 individuals and 19 entities were added to a targeted sanctions list and the coverage of the travel ban was significantly widened.

International bodies or organisations

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) held an extraordinary session of its Council (C/ES.35) on 10 and 11 March 2022 to address the impacts on shipping and seafarers of the situation in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

  • The IMO has published a new security update. The Council agreed to encourage, as a provisional and urgent measure, the establishment of a blue safe maritime corridor to allow the safe evacuation of seafarers and ships from the high-risk and affected areas in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov to a safe place.
  • The IMO recommends that ships stranded in Ukraine ports and waters should use the online form to submit information on ships stranded in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov. This information will be received by the IMO Secretariat Emergency Task Force.
  • If people are unable to use the internet form, they can use the Download form to submit information to IMO (please email etf@imo.org).
  • Seafarers impacted by the situation can request assistance from IMO's Seafarer Crisis Action Team (SCAT) by emailing info@imo.org.
  • IMO Maritime Knowledge Centre page with information resources for and about seafarers can be found here.

The International Maritime Employers' Council (IMEC) advised that there have been no changes to the risk profile in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov; so, the International Bargaining Forum (IBF) has agreed to extend designations 6, 7 and 8 until 29 March 2022 keeping them unchanged.

  • The IBF List of designated risk areas, with applicable benefits (as of 15 March 2022) can be found here.
  • The Joint Negotiating Group (JNG) and the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) have designated areas in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov as 'Warlike Operations Areas' triggering an increased security level and other entitlements for seafarers in the war zone around Ukraine (dd. 2 March 2022).

ISWAN has put a resource page together to help Seafarers affected or concerned by what is happening in Ukraine where they can find support and information; details can be found here.

Other developments

The classification society American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) has taken the decision to withdraw all Class services involving Russian vessels, assets, and companies.

Restrictions on flights to the following airports were extended until 26 March 2022: Anapa, Belgorod, Bryansk, Voronezh, Gelendzhik, Krasnodar, Kursk, Lipetsk, Rostov-on-Don, Simferopol, and Elista.

 

Week 10 ; 8-11 March 2022

Summary update of calendar week 10

1. Travel implications
  • It has been reported that flights to or from Russia to the EU, the UK, the USA, Canada, and Moldova are banned. This may affect any crew repatriations to or from Russia.
  • Any flights to and from the Ukraine have been stopped.
  • Ukrainians in Russia were urged to leave Russia citing potential loss of consular service.
  • Turkish Airlines are still flying to Russia.
2. Local implications in the Ukraine
  • All Ukrainian ports are still closed for inward/outward passages as well as any cargo operations.
  • Ukrainian agents cannot provide assistance in the Ukrainian ports.
  • Sea of Azov is closed.
  • NATO warned on the risks of mines in the Black Sea.
3. Effects on shipowners operating vessels with Ukrainian crew
  • Several Ukrainian seafarers have asked to be repatriated a.s.a.p. to be with their families
  • Many Ukrainian crew signing off may put a strain on shipowners to get replacement crew quickly.
  • Ukrainian seafarers staying on the vessels should be provided with stable and fast internet access to stay in touch with their families.
  • Providing extra mental and emotional support for Ukrainian crew would be helpful.
  • Shipowners with mixed crew (Russian and Ukrainian) should provide any assistance and support to the crew to avoid any conflicts.
4. Effects or restrictions in other countries
  • Australia will prohibit the import of oil, refined petroleum products, natural gas, coal and other energy products from Russia from 25 April 2022.
  • The USA announced a ban on the import of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal; any transactions entered into prior to 8 March 2022, that are ordinarily incident to and necessary to the importation of crude oil, petroleum, petroleum fuels, oils, liquified natural gas, coal and coal products, are permitted through 22 April 2022 at 12:01 a.m. eastern daylight time.
  • The UK banned Russian ships have been banned UK ports (incl. Gibraltar); the ban includes any vessels owned or operated by anyone connected to Russia and authorities will also gain new powers to detain Russian vessels.
  • Canada prohibits Russian ships and fishing vessels from entering Canadian ports and internal waters.
5. Regional implications
  • The Joint War Committee (JWC) included in its Listed Areas, which are areas where owners are required to notify underwriters of voyages, parts of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
  • NATO warns of the risk of collateral damage in the north-western Black Sea and therefore encourages the Shipping Industry to use the Mediterranean voluntary reporting scheme VRS.
  • As per the Montreux Convention, the passage through the Turkish Straits is still allowed for commercial vessels.
  • Bulgarian ports are working as usual.
  • Whilst the Azov Sea is partly blocked by Russian Navy, Russian ports of Taman and Kavkaz are operating normal.
  • All Romanian ports are safe and that few vessels at Constantza anchorage returned from Ukrainian ports.
  • Operations in the Romanian port of Constantza port are rather normal.
  • Foreign crewmembers from vessels blocked in Ukrainian ports may still be able to disembark through Romania, as the access to Danube and Black Sea ports of Ukraine is still possible from Romania.
  • We recommend to our members to instruct their crew irrespective of their nationality to not making any comments to Russian authorities about the ongoing conflict between Russia and the Ukraine, especially terms like "war", "invasion", etc. should not be used when travelling through or to Russia. The crew should even if they feel provoked not comment on politics to avoid any consequences like being put in jail.
6. Effects on Russian shipowners
  • The classification societies Lloyd's Register (LR) and Det Norske Veritas (DNV) have released statements that they will end their contracts and operations with Russian entities and are winding down all related business.