Crimean Ports of Evpatoria, Kerch, Sevastopol, Feodosia, and Yalta

July 2014

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On 16 June 2014, the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine issued Directive № 255 - “On Closure of Sea Ports” – whereby, and subsequent to registration of the Directive with the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine on 24 June 2014, the Ukrainian authorities intend to liquidate the administrative port authorities within the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

The Directive was published and came into force on the 15th July, 2014. Accordingly, so far as the Ukrainian authorities are concerned, the ports of Evpatoria, Kerch, Sevastopol, Feodosia, and Yalta are closed to international shipping. As de facto control of the Crimea has now passed to Russia it is unclear what practical effect this legislation will have on the operation of these ports. However, since the Ukraine is recognised by the UN as having sovereignty over the Crimea it may theoretically be possible for the Ukraine to ask other states for help to enforce the ban when a vessel arrives in their jurisdiction subsequent to a call to a Crimean port in breach of Directive № 255.

Vessels that call at these ports after the Directive is published will be in breach of Ukrainian Legislation on Occupied Territories- Law of Ukraine No.1207-VII “On Assurance of Rights and Freedoms and Legal Regime on the Temporarily Occupied Territory of Ukraine”: 

www.dias-co.com/index.php?page=114 

A breach of the legislation is treated as an offence or crime against the Ukraine and its’ interests with, if pursued by the Ukrainian law enforcement authorities, the risk of penalties and/or criminal sanctions on the master and/or crew members of any such vessel, as well as action being taken again the vessel and officials of operator or owning company of the vessel. The potential penalties include:

(a) Liability under the Code of Ukraine on Administrative Offences:

- Article 202 provides for a fine up to 340 Ukrainian hryvnas (about 30 USD) per person;
- Article 2042 – a fine up to 5100 Ukrainian hryvnas (about 425 USD) per person or administrative arrest for a term of up to 15 days;
- Article 263 – administrative arrest of an individual for a term of up to 3 days.

(b) Liability under the Criminal Code of Ukraine:

- Article 3321 - in the event of commercial (economical) losses caused to the Ukraine imprisonment of up to 8 years of any of the crew and/or seizure of the vessel .

 

We are grateful for the assistance of the Club’s correspondent Dias Marine Consulting PC and Yanitskiy & Partners Law Office in the preparation of this article.