In what looks to be more a case of wishful thinking than any reflection of reality, the Ukrainian Navy has announced the opening of a “temporary corridor” for ships to transfer goods from Ukrainian ports. In a post on its Facebook page late last week the Ukrainian Navy said that “according to the order of the Naval Assignment of the Armed Forces No. 6 from 08.08.2023, new temporary routes of civilian ships to/from the Black Sea ports of Ukraine were announced.
At the same time, it is reported that throughout all routes there is a military threat and mortal danger from the Russian Federation.”
It said that “these routes will primarily be used for the possibility of exit of civilian vessels in Ukrainian ports of Chernomorsk, Odesa and Pivdennyi (Yuzhne) since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of Russia 24.02.2022”.
The Navy said that “vessels whose owners / captains officially confirm readiness to sail in current conditions will be allowed to pass through routes. “We remind you that the last ship with Ukrainian food left the port of Odesa July 16th. After Russia’s exit from the grain agreement state-aggressor attacked the port grain infrastructure in order to stop access of Ukrainian food to world markets. World leaders, including African countries, urged Russia to stop blackmailing the food and not to interfere with Ukrainian agroexport.”
At least initially, the route would apply to vessels such as container ships that have been stuck in Ukrainian ports since the war began, and were not covered by the deal that opened the ports for grain shipments last year.
However, the announcement looked to contain nothing new. With no indication that the newly announced corridors had been endorsed by anyone else, or that any shipping companies had announced that they would be willing to send ships on the back of such a unilateral announcement.
On Saturday a local news agency stated that Ukraine had started registering ships willing to use the corridor. Interfax Ukraine quoted Ukrainian Navy spokesman Dmytro Pletenchuk as saying that “registration is now open and the coordinator is already working”.
However, Pletenchuk gave no more details. Meanwhile it appeared that, as of Friday evening, no ships had yet passed through the corridor. “Everything will take place under the supervision of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. We are doing everything we can to ensure security,” Pletenchuk said.
Source: Insurance Marine News 14th August 2023