Ukraine can demand the arrest of ships which enter Crimean ports
Ukraine is entitled to demand that ships which have illegally docked in Crimean ports are arrested in any port in the world. This, Oleg Alyoshin, partner in the law firm Vasyl Kisil and Partners says is in full accordance with the International Ship and Port Security Code.
Alyoshin explained to Interfax Ukraine that Ukraine has a wide range of legal means for defending its interests including arrest of ships which enter Crimean ports while the Crimea is under Russian occupation. It can also seek a ban on their entry into the Crimea by citing the same code. There is every reason for assuming that the International Maritime Organization, as a specialized UN agency will refuse to recognize documents issued to a ship or Crimean port, bypassing the Ukrainian authorities.
An order from Ukraine’s ministry of infrastructure from July 15 closes the ports in Yevpatoria; Kerch; Feodosia; Yalta and Sevastopol to international shipping. This information has been passed to the International Maritime Organization and its members, as well as to representatives of foreign companies with IMO accreditation.
There is also the law on ensuring the rights and freedoms of citizens and the legal regime on temporarily occupied Ukrainian territory which came into force on April 27. This added an article to the criminal code with liability introduced for violating the rules of entry to occupied territory. This carries a sentence of up to 5 years together with confiscation of the vehicle.
Alyoshin says that foreign ships had on the whole stopped coming into Crimean ports at the end of March, after the UN resolution which called on international organizations, including the IMO, states and others to not recognize any change in the status of the Crimea and Sevastopol and refrain from any actions that could be viewed as recognition.
Some are however flouting the ban. Although none has yet been arrested or faced fines, they have incurred certain difficulties. The Turkish tanker Huseyn Javid was unable to enter Odessa because of the efforts of civic activists.
It is also reported, that the Turkish authorities have initiated an investigation over the Turkish cruise liner Adriana having anchored in the port in Sevastopol. He understands that after official intervention from Ukraine’s foreign ministry, and diplomatic representatives in Turkey, the Adriana is no longer coming to Sevastopol.
Other ships, however, are.
As reported here, a project ‘Blacklist’ has been started to expose the vessels and aircraft still coming to the Crimea’s ports. They have just reported that an Italian gas tanker SYN ATLAS 2014 was loaded in the Kerch port on July 28-29.