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Crimean ports officially closed for shipping, but there’s nothing to do there anyway

July 10, 2014 at 09:18 by Mikhail Voytenko in Opinion

Ukraine declared all Crimean ports ((Evpatoria, Kerch, Sevastopol, Feodosia, Yalta and Sevastopol) closed for international shipping. Any vessel calling Crimean port is therefore, a violator of Ukrainian Legislation on Occupied Territories, such a violation is treated as a crime against the State and its’ interests. It may lead to a heavy fine, or even confiscation, of the vessel in question, when or if it will be within the reach of Ukrainian law enforcement agencies. Theoretically, any vessel of a company, which violated the ban, may be arrested in any State, member of IMO, because Russian annexation of the Crimea peninsula is slated by UN and international community as unlawful, and Crimea legally, is part of Ukraine.
When properly installed, maritime blockade of the Crimea will effectively close peninsula ports down. Right now though, and in the foreseen future, blockade may be considered as unnecessary. Crimean ports were mostly handling export cargoes of Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan and other CIS countries. Cargoes were transported to Crimea by rail and by trucks via Ukrainian mainland territory, which thankfully, remains Ukrainian. By now, land cargo traffic to the peninsula is virtually, non-existent. All the goods required for the peninsula physical existence, first of all consumer goods, are delivered by ferries shuttling on frantic schedules between Crimean and mainland Russian ports, such as Taman and Novorossiysk. Peninsula is already cut off mainland, and for all purposes, isn’t peninsula any more, it’s a besieged island. The point is, there is nothing to carry from, or to, Crimean ports, except drying out stream of LPG from Kerch, and maybe some other leftovers in other ports.
Russia puts on ferry schedules as much vessels as was able to manage, among them some hastily disguised Greek and Turkish vessels. The supply line by sea – the only one existing, actually – will be maintained by all costs and means, just because it’s vitally important for the Crimean population and economy existence.
The ports and their export cargo flows are a different story. To launch them again, Russia will have to establish transportation line, either by coming to some terms with Ukraine and opening up railways and highways, or by building bridge and/or tunnel across Kerch Strait. Bridge can’t be built in weeks, it will take, according to Monistry of Transport of Russia, at least three years. Until then (providing Russia and Ukraine won’t reach some kind of agreement on rail and auto connections), Crimean ports are closed, with or without shipping sanctions, just because they’re cut off cargo flow.
Owners nevertheless, should be careful, and avoid calling Crimean ports, however lucrative freight may be. Somebody has to be the first, the example of punishment for ban violation.
Voytenko Mikhail
July 10

Crimean ports officially closed for shipping, but there’s nothing to do there anyway Crimean supply sea line between Port Kavkaz (RU mainland) and Kerch

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