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Ukraine issues list of complaints against Russia at IMO

Greece, Malta, Liberia and Panama-flagged ships listed by Ukraine delegate at IMO seeking an investigation into Russian maritime activities

Ukraine has issued the IMO with a lengthy list of complaints against Russia and urged governments to help identify any environmental and safety risks from shipping Russian oil

UKRAINE has identified more than 30 tankers at an International Maritime Organization meeting, some of them owned by Greece-based companies, and many flagged by Panama or Liberia, that it says have engaged in ship-to-ship transfers of Russian oil.

The ships were named as part of an extensive list of complaints against Russia raised by Ukraine within the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting being held this week in London.

The Ukrainian delegation used the forum to formally ask Black Sea states to launch joint pollution inspections of marine areas, as Western delegates attending the IMO meeting today expressed concerns that some sanctions-skirting tankers shipping Russian crude posed significant safety and environmental risks.

“For a long time, Russia has been practicing illegal activities by exploiting waters adjacent to the temporarily occupied Crimea, in particular near the Kerch Strait, for the ship-to-ship transportation of fossil fuels including gasoil and other natural resources illegally imported or exported to or from Crimea, while turning off AIS transponders on vessels engaged in these activities,” the country’s delegate told the MEPC meeting on Monday.

“The mentioned water areas were also used for bunkering at sea for tankers which apparently receive diesel fuel from other vessels arriving from Russian ports and other Black Sea states.”

There was also the “dangerous transhipment of Russia’s oil supplies” at other locations in the Black Sea, including 18 nautical miles southeast of the Romanian port of Constanta, the delegate said.

Ukraine specifically called out the Liberia-flagged suezmax tanker New Legend (IMO: 9230505) that “replenishes oil product reserves by systematically receiving supplies from tankers under the Russia’s flag coming from the port of Temryuk”.

There was no suggestion from the delegate that the tanker, or any other vessels named, were breaching sanctions.

The New Legend is owned by Adam Polemis via the registered owner of Liberia-based Greco Navigation Ltd. Mr Polemis, via his New Shipping Ltd company in Greece, has been approached for comment.

“Moorings with a number of tankers under the flags of Panama, Malta, Greece and Liberia, which are suspected of loading Russian oil products for further delivery, were observed,” the delegate added.

“The final destination of these vessels’ movement are still to be identified, because of the practiced switch-off of AIS transponders once they reach certain points in the Mediterranean.”

These included the Malta-flagged San Sebastian (IMO: 9314856) which arrived in the area from the Croatian port of Bakar and proceeded to the Libyan port of Homs, and the Liberia-flagged Minerva Anna (IMO: 9298507), which arrived near Laconian Bay and proceeded to the eastern Mediterranean where its AIS signals were disabled about 26 miles northwest of Haifa, the Ukraine delegate said.

Panama-flagged Trident Hope (IMO: 9271377), Malta-flagged Chrysopigi (IMO: 9303728) and Greece-flagged Kriti Jade (IMO: 9391311) were also mentioned.

Delegates from Greece and Malta responded to the comments at the committee meeting.

Nothing had been communicated to the Greek administration about any sanctions-breaking by Greek-operated vessels, the Greece delegate said, adding that all Greek-owned and flagged vessels abided by the sanctions regime.

Malta’s delegate also said there had been no complaints about any alleged sanctions violations.

“The common denominator for all the listed cases is the Greek nationality of shipowners and operators,” Ukraine said.

“Ukraine insists that these cases should be investigated by respective authorities, in particular given the recent adoption of the EU Council’s decision to criminalise the breach of the sanctions regime.”

Several delegations supported Ukraine’s stance and said that sanctions on Russian oil and shipping highlighted the additional safety and security risks posed by vessels that didn’t comply, because they did not have the proper security management system required under the International Safety Management Code.

“There are grounds to believe more maritime incidents can occur endangering the safety of navigation and the environmental situation in this area. Such inevitable increase in tanker accidents may be caused by the human factor and technical condition of the monitored vessels,” Ukraine said.

Russia’s delegate said that Ukraine was responsible for a massive assault on Black Sea infrastructure and this created the threats to the marine environment, noting that in June Ukraine armed forces attacked civil installations in the Russian federation including drilling platforms.

The imposition of sanctions were leading to the violations in the supply chain that posed serious risks to the environmental protection regime, he said.

Under IMO rules, the names of the delegates cannot be reported without permission.

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