EU designation of Kerch and Sevastopol sea ports
Recent EU designations (EU Council Implementing Regulation 810/2014 dated 25 July 2014) include the Sevastopol and Kerch Commercial Sea Ports. Kerch Commercial Sea Port has control over the Kerch Strait and administers the Kerch Canal. Vessels entering or leaving the Sea of Azov must pass through the Kerch Strait and the Kerch Canal. A number of Russian and Ukrainian ports such as Mariupol and Rostov are located in the Sea of Azov. The port authority levies canal dues and therefore in order to pass the Kerch Canal dues must be paid to the authority which is designated by the EU in order to reach non-designated ports such as Mariupol. The International Group is raising this issue with the EU, but until further guidance is issued by the EU Members should beware that payment of dues to the Kerch port authority may involve a breach of sanctions.