Russian ships concerned about cargo deals with Ukraine

Some Russian ships have stopped transporting cargo to Ukraine, concluding that, after a Russian tanker was detained in a Ukrainian port, to do so was too risky, reports Reuters, citing two shipowner sources.

“Of course we won’t go to Ukraine, we have suspended the shipments for now. If needs be, we will be searching for other destinations,” a shipping industry source was quoted as saying.

Russia-flagged oil tanker Mekhanik Pogodin (IMO 9598397) has been moored unwillingly in the port of Kherson since August 10th. A spokeswoman for a regional unit of the Ukrainian state security service (SBU) said the tanker had been detained in the port and prevented from offloading because her owner was on a list of sanctions imposed by Kiev.

The vessel is owned by VEB-Leasing, part of Russian banking group VEB and among Russian companies subject to sanctions imposed by Ukraine in May. The tanker was leased by VF Tanker to carry diesel from Turkmenistan to Ukraine on behalf of the Canadian company Oil Marine Shipping and Chartering Inc, according to her captain, Mikhail Zamyatin. VF Tanker is one of the largest shipping companies in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov region.

The Port Captain referred to Article 91 of the Merchant Shipping Code and a letter from the State Border Service of Ukraine, and banned the vessel’s departure. Sailors on board were provided with food, water and medicines.

Russian ships typically carry oil products from Turkmenistan via Russian ports and the Sea of Azov to the Ukrainian ports of Odessa, Kherson and Nikolayev during summer, partly by river. They also ship sunflower seed oil from Ukraine, but those operations had also been suspended, according to Reuters sources.

VF Tanker said that Mekhanik Pogodin’s captain was still on the ship as the Kherson harbour master had barred the vessel from leaving the port.

2011-built, Russia-flagged, 4,373 gt Mekhanik Pogodin is owned by VEB-Leasing OJSC of Moscow, Russia, and managed by VF Tanker Ltd of Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia. It is entered with Shipowners’ Club on behalf of VF Tanker.