More than 50 transits reported through Ukrainian Black Sea corridor

The number of transits of Ukraine’s Black Sea corridor from Yuzhne, Chornomorsk and Odesa to Istanbul, as well as the return route, has now exceeded 50, reported Reuters, citing sources. The number of vessels involved is around 30.

The identities of the ships has become more low-key since the initial high-profile trips. Similarly the timing of the voyages is kept under wraps as a protection against potential Russian attack. Each of Ukraine’s three main seaports were now accepting ships.

Three more bulkers and general cargo ships departed from the Odesa region on October 17th, travelling the coast-hugging corridor that minimizes the period spent in Ukrainian waters and maximizes the period spent in the waters of NATO member countries.

There appeared to be a mix of vessels, with smaller ones from flags including Palau and Vanuatu being joined by an increasing number of larger vessels from flags including Liberia and Panama.

One vessel among the October 17th departures was the Bull (IMO 9582489), an 82,000 dwt bulker that came from India and is now sailing to Istanbul after departing Odesa. As has been the case with several of the earlier ships, the vessel’s manager is Blumenthal Asia based in Singapore.

The other two vessels departing from the Odesa region today were smaller general cargo ships the Palau-registered Ramus (IMO 9318400) (6,063 dwt) (managed from Poland) and the Bahar K (IMO 8884555) (8,284 dwt) registered in Vanuatu and managed from Turkiye.

While all three ships were transmitting their AIS signal – something which technically they could possibly avoid legally on the grounds of security – none of them named Ukrainian ports as either their destinations or points of departure.

Unnamed sources in Ukraine said that 24 ships had sailed from Ukraine’s ports of Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdennyi (Yuzhne), with the pace of travel having increased in the past few weeks.

The “humanitarian corridor” was announced initially as a means by which vessels trapped in Ukrainian ports could leave. But it hasn’t panned out that way. Only five large cargo vessels have taken advantage of the opportunity to “escape”, with others remaining in Ukraine. One of the factors possibly involved here is that nearly all of them would have spent more than a year in the port, unable to escape, and would therefore have been declared constructive total losses – with insurers compensating the owners accordingly (or being in the process of negotiating a compensation level). Deciding suddenly to “bring the ship out” would not only add exponentially to the complexity of this, but who should pay for the journey and who would assume the risk would be a matter for debate.

Two other vessels were inbound earlier this week. The Turkish-managed 46,667 dwt bulker Majesty (IMO 9181027) , registered in Panama, arrived off Odesa late on Tuesday. The 6,900 dwt Briza, (IMO 9286815) registered in Palau, was also inbound. Ukrainian officials did not name a third vessel, but the Eleen Neptune (IMO 9430844), registered in Liberia (56,657 dwt) was signalling a destination of Chornomorsk while in the anchorage off Sulina in Romania.

The reports are saying a total of 33 vessels, including the Briza, have now used the route to access Ukraine’s ports. This likely includes vessels also going to Izmail on the Danube.

2012-built, Liberia-flagged, 43,268 gt Bull is owned by Theta Shipholding Ltd care of manager Blumenthal Asia Pte of Singapore. It is entered with Skuld (Skuld Hamburg) on behalf of Blumenthal Asia Pte Ltd. As of October 18th it was in the Black Sea, heading for Istanbul, listing its departure point as Haldia, India, on September 12th.

2005-built, Palau-flagged, 4,123 gt Ramus is owned by Tradex Transportation Inc care of DTSChart Sp ZOO of Zyardow, Poland. It is entered with British Marine on behalf of Tradex Transportation Inc. As of October 18th it was headed south in the Black Sea, east of Bulgaria, listed as heading for Oristano, Italy (ETA October 25th), having departed Istanbul on October 11th.

1993-built, Vanuatu-flagged, 5,306 gt Bahar-K is owned and managed by Gandalf Shipping Inc of Majuro, Marshall Islands. ISM manager is H Kalkavan Denizcilik of Istanbul, Turkiye. It is entered with West P&I (Eastern Claims Team) on behalf of Gandalf Shipping Inc. As of October 18th the Bahar K was headed south in the Black Sea, possibly heading for Italy, having left Abu Qir, Egypt, on October 3rd.

1999-built, Panama-flagged, 27,011 gt Majesty is owned by Majesty Nautical Shipholding care of manager Majesty Navigation Enterprises SA of Istanbul, Turkiye. It is entered with Thomas Miller Specialty on behalf of Majesty Navigation Enterprises SA. As of October 18th it was underway at Odesa Anchorage, having left Dahej, India, on September 13th.

2003-built, Palau-flagged, 4,564 gt Briza is owned by Brchart Shipping Ltd care of Dtschart Sp zoo of Zyardow, Poland. It is entered with British Marine on behalf of Brchart Shipping Ltd. As of October 18th it was underway at Chornomorsk, with its route listed as being from Constanta, Romania (departed October 15th) and destination as Sulina, Romania (ETA October 16th).

2009-built, Liberia-flagged, 31,259 gt Eleen Neptune is owned by Maritime Neptune LLC care of Eleen Marine JSC of Sofia, Bulgaria. It is entered with Steamship Mutual (European Syndicate) on behalf of Maritime Neptune LLC. As of October 18th it was at anchor in the Black Sea  east of the Danube.