The Ukrainian Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons reports that the number of foreign ships entering the ports of the annexed Crimea has decreased since the beginning of this year.
“A total of 1207 cargo ships and tankers entered the ports and coastal areas of the occupied Crimea from August 1, 2017 to September 30, 2018,” said the ministry, adding that this refers to vessels equipped with automatic identification systems.
According to the report, 98 vessels flying the Russian flag entered the closed Ukrainian seaports on 1,123 occasions. The list of countries whose vessels call to the closed seaports of Ukraine includes Palau, Togo, Sierra Leone, Comoros, Moldova, Tanzania, Panama, Malta, Sudan, the Cook Islands, the Pitcairn Islands, Saint Kitts and Nevis, as well as Turkey.
“During 2018, there is a tendency towards reduced activities of vessels under the flags of foreign countries," summed up the department’s press service.
According to the Ukraine’s legislation, the seaports located in the annexed Crimea (Yevpatoria, Kerch, Sevastopol, Feodosia and Yalta) are closed for navigation.
On March 25, the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine detained a fishing vessel flying Russian flag in the waters of the Sea of Azov. The Prosecutor's office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea opened criminal proceedings based on the fact that vessel Nord left the port of Kerch, which is officially closed by the Kyiv’s authorities. On March 30, the Ukrainian court arrested the vessel.
On April 6, Kherson City Court took the captain of the vessel, Vladimir Gorbenko into custody. He remained under arrest until May 31. On April 10, he was released after Russia paid bail of 35 thousand 240 UAH. He was forbidden from visiting the Crimea.
Since July 2014, the Ukrainian government has officially ceased operation of all the ports in the Russia’s annexed peninsula, and the Crimean ports are closed to international shipping.