260 foreign ships identified as in breach of international law for entering Crimea
Black Sea News, together with the monitoring group of the Maidan of Foreign Affairs, have published a blacklist of 260 foreign ships that entered Crimea since Russia’s invasion and annexation up till August 15, 2016. The vessels have made calls at the nine Crimean ports: in Yevpatoria, Sevastopol (two ports), Yalta, Feodosia and Kerch (four ports).
This is indeed a blacklist since the ships have docked at ports in Russian-occupied Crimea in breach of Ukrainian legislation and international sanctions.
They promise to present a series of analytical materials concerning the database: the monitoring group has analysed the database of the offenders in accordance with the types of ships, types of cargo, ports of call and response to international sanctions, as well as tracked the processes of changing the flags and the owners and so on.
We monitor only the vessels that carry passengers and cargo to/from the Crimean, as well as the special vessels that participate in the major infrastructure projects, the occupation authorities (dredgers, cable layers, pipe layers, etc.).
The "black list" does not include the following vessels as offenders:
· port fleet ships (cruisers, pilot- and workboats, tugs, port tenders, floating cranes, dredging vessels and garbage trucks), assigned to the ports of Crimea. Those are owned by the Ukrainian state and became "nationalized" by the invaders, de-facto -- booty;
· ships, regardless of the flag, that at the start of the occupation began, docked for repairs at the Crimean dockyards or sludge at the Crimean ports;
· yachts stationed at the Crimean yacht clubs and docks at the beginning of the occupation;
· fishing fleet owned by various Crimean owners:
· vessels at the Crimean “Chernomorsk” sea port because all of them are technological fleet of the Ukrainian public joint-stock company "Chernomorneftegaz". All state property of the company, including gas fields and fleet (floating drilling platforms, offshore supply vessels, tugs, etc.), was "nationalized", in other words-- expropriated, by the occupants. No other vessels dock at that port. in the near future, the BSNews will present a separate study in on the "Chornomornaftohaz" fleet;
· vessels that have been registered by the international Automated Identification of Ships (AIS) system as making a call at a Crimean port, but that in reality were at anchorages, offshore terminals and docks waiting out stormy weather.
In most cases, the table lists only the date of arrival to the port. Typically, the ship remains at the port for several days afterwards.
The ships flags listed in the database do not always match the proprietorship (the ship owners country) and especially the management, (the vessel operator’s country) due to their frequent changes.
The difficulties of tracking the ship owner and operator stem from the fact that the real ship owners, especially foreign, in order to evade the sanctions, re-register the vessels under the fictitious owners names and regularly change operating companies.
This monitoring group is grateful in advance to those specialists, ship owners, operators and brokers who would help us correct any inaccuracies or errors by writing to this e-mail address: [email protected]
The vessel flags listed here are as of August 15, 2016. It should be noted that 60 of the 260 merchant ships in the violator table, i.e. 23%, have changed the flag they were initially registered under when first put on the black list in 2014-15. That process will be described separately.
To confirm a vessel’s call at a Crimean port we have used several vessel tracking services since those may use different groups of the shore-based AIS receivers. Therefore, the vessels that are not visible for one service can be seen by another.
Our main source of data has been the Ukrainian www.shippingexplorer.net. The monitoring group is particularly grateful to the ShippingExplorer company for the opportunity to use its special software.
The monitoring has been conducted on a daily basis, beginning with March 18, 2014, the date when the occupation of Crimea by the Russian Federation began. All in all, between March 18, 2014 and August 15, 2016 260 merchant ships flying the flags of 32 countries that in violation of the sanctions, have called at the Crimean ports, have made it onto the black list.