Russia reports first foreign ship departed Mariupol

The first foreign ship has departed the now Russian-occupied Black Sea Port of Mariupol, according to Russia’s state-controlled TASS News Agency.

Russia has been making significant efforts to reopen the port after the extended battle to take control of the city. TASS said that a second foreign vessel was also preparing to sail.

A Turkish-owned general cargo ship, the Azov Concord (IMO 9387748) appeared to have departed Mariupol and successfully crossed the Sea of Azov to the Russian port of Novorossiky. According to AIS data the vessel was now anchored at the Novorossiky after having been one of six foreign-flagged ships that TASS acknowledged had been stuck in Mariupol since the invasion in February.

TASS quoted the captain of the ship, Ivan Babenkov, as saying that the Azov Concord had required repairs due to damage incurred during the siege of the city, Those repairs were now completed and he was sailing with a newly recruited crew, he said.

The vessel, which was not carrying any cargo, might have been escorted across the Sea of Azov by Russian warships.

The Turkish ministry also announced the departure of the Azov Concord saying that it was making progress in its talks to restart grain shipments. They called the talks in Moscow “constructive,” while Russian reports acknowledge the discussions cited no progress. “The parties discussed the safe exit of Turkish merchant ships and export of grain from Ukrainian ports, as well as the approaches to safe navigation in the Black Sea,” the Russians reported.

The Bulgarian-owned bulk carrier Tzarevna (IMO 9145231) was also reported by TASS to be preparing to depart Mariupol. The 21,470 dwt bulker which is also registered in Malta had also been stuck in the port since February. TASS reported that the vessel was currently completing paperwork and said that, as soon as payment was received for port services, the vessel would be allowed to depart.

At the end of May, TASS also reported efforts were underway to restore port operations at Mariupol. They said an initial cargo of 2,700 tonnes of Ukrainian steel would be shipped some 100 miles from Mariupol to the Russian port of Rostov-on-Don in a first an effort after the mines were cleared from the harbour.

Besides the two ships reported by TASS as leaving Mariupol, they cited four other foreign ships that remain in the port. They included vessels registered in the Dominican Republic, Liberia, Panama, and Jamaica.

Russia was claimed by several western news sources to be looting grain from the occupied areas of Ukraine and shipping it out of the country. CNN quoted a Ukraine government report that said an estimated 400,000 tons of grain has been stolen (equal to about 1% of national exports per year). The US State Department had previously issued an alert, citing vessels it believed were smuggling stolen Ukrainian commodities. Lloyd’s List Intelligence has published a list of nine vessels that were suspected of transporting stolen Ukrainian gain. LLI said that many of the vessels were “going dark” to hide their actions.

2008-built, Malta-flagged, 6,483 gt Azov Concord is owned by Ulusmarine Co Ltd care of manager Albros Shipping & Trading Co of Istanbul, Turkey. As of June 23rd it was entered with West of England (Eastern Claims Team) on behalf of Azov Concord Shipping Co. As of June 23rd the vessel was at anchor in the Sea of Azov, a short way north of Kerch.

20o4-built, Malta-flagged, 13,965 gt Tzarevna is owned by Vulcania Srl care of Argo Shipping Cp, Varna, Bulgaria. It is managed by Naviborn Ltd of Varna, Bulgaria. As of June 23rd it was entered with Thomas Miller Specialty on behalf of Naviborn Ltd. On June 2st it was moored in Mariupol.