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Marine insurers urge caution over Ukraine crisis

Seek latest advice from local agents and keep an eye for rapidly changing sanctions, shipowners told

‘The sanctions landscape affecting Russia and Ukraine has altered rapidly over recent days. Physical conflict will also likely affect events on the ground, particularly accessibility and safety of ports,’ says Steamship

P&I clubs have joined a prominent hull and cargo underwriter in advising shipowners to exercise caution in the face of the situation in Ukraine.

Swedish Club advised members with vessels already either in the region or planning to call there to reach out to local agents and managers’ offices for further updates and advice.

“With the addition of recent sanctions, members are advised to exercise particular care in performing due diligence on any trade to Russia or Ukraine,” it said.

Steamship drew parallels with countries such as Iran, Syria and Venezuela, which have earlier been hit by sanctions targeting trade and shipping activities.

In some cases, this has entailed shipowners and P&I insurers reviewing and in some cases altering their business conduct, it said.

“The sanctions landscape affecting Russia and Ukraine has altered rapidly over recent days. Physical conflict will also likely affect events on the ground, particularly … accessibility and safety of ports,” the International Group affiliate said.

MS Amlin noted that all Ukrainian Black Sea ports are closed, including Odessa, Chernomorsk, Pivdenny, Nikolaev and Dneprobugsky.

Ukrainian ports in the Sea of Azov are also closed, including Berdyansk and Mariupol.

However, the situation at Russian Black Sea ports is reported to be stable.

Navigation in the Sea of Azov is reportedly suspended, while there are conflicting reports over the situation in the Kerch Strait.

Like the Swedish Club, Amlin advised charterers and operators to contact local agents or correspondents for the latest advice.

It also warned that disputes may potentially arise under charterparties and contracts of carriage, including those related to safety of ports, sanctions, deviation, detention, demurrage, off-hire disputes, force majeure events, frustration and cancellation of contracts.

Leading law firms in London have advised that the situation may already have reached the threshold at which owners are entitled to refuse orders, depending on the precise wording of their contracts.

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