Media: Despite sanctions Ukrainian cargo ship delivers ore from Turkey to Crimea then safely sails back to Ukraine

The Nefterudovoz 45 M oil and ore tanker sailing under the Ukrainian flag has delivered approximately 10,000 tons of ilmenite ore from the city of Samsun in Turkey to the Kerch Strait, re-loaded it in a harbor for further delivery to the closed port in Kerch in the Russian-annexed Crimea and returned to Kherson (Ukraine).

The information was reported on February 17th by the Ukrainian Center of Investigative Journalism, citing data from the Marine Traffic online tracking service, which indicates that the tanker is currently anchored in the waters of the Kherson commercial seaport.

In particular, the media outlets reported that the tanker, Nefterudovoz 45 M, was docked at the Smart Maritime Group’s wharf that belongs to a member of the Ukrainian Parliament from the Opposition Bloc faction, Vadim Novinsky.
The head of the Crimean Tatars Mejlis and member of the Ukrainian Parliament, Refat Chubarov wrote on Facebook that he was closely monitoring the situation and promised to “assess the actions of law enforcement in regards to the captain of the Nefterudovoz 45 M.”

“We know that there are special service officers currently working aboard the tanker, and we are expecting representatives of the Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea to arrive soon, too. I have the feeling that this time the perpetrators will not get away with it,” Chubarov wrote.

Representatives of the Nefterudovoz 45 M have not provided official comments yet.

In January the information appeared that the Nefterudovoz 45 M shipped approximately 3,000 tons of ilmenite ore from the Turkish port of Samsun to the Kerch Strait. On January 11th, in the harbor of the Port Kavkaz (the Russian Federation) the commodity was re-loaded to the Russian ore tanker Nefterudovoz 2, which delivered it to the closed port of Kamysh Burun in Kerch (Crimea). The only enterprise in the Russian-annexed Crimea that uses ilmenite ore in its production is the Ukrainian Chemical Products plant (former Crimean Titan), owned by Ukrainian businessman, Dmytro Firtash.

According to the Ukrainian state register, the Nefterudovoz 45 М tanker belongs to the Marine Transport Management company, with Maksym Molchanov, a citizen of Odessa, named as the company’s founder.

The Ukrainian Chemical Products works started its operations in 1971. In early 2000 the DF Group (where the DF stands for the group’s owner Dmytro Firtash) acquired control over the enterprise. The main substance produced by the enterprise is titanium dioxide, which is widely popular in the production of paint and coatings, rubber, plastic, and many other industrial processes.

In 2014, after the annexation of Crimea by Russia, Dmytro Firtash altered the management structure of the group. In October, the DF Group transferred the Ukrainian Chemical Products (then Crimean Titan) to the Russian-based subsidiary, the Titanovyie Investitsii [Titanic Investments] company. In 2015, the re-branding was completed with re-naming of the Crimean Titan into the Ukrainian Chemical Products.

Starting in July 2014, the government of Ukraine officially closed all seaports in the Russian-annexed Crimea, and since then all harbors and wharfs have remained closed for international maritime business.

  Crimea, Kerch, Ukraine, Turkey, Russia, Dmytro Firtash