In a move seen as an attempt by Russia to increase diplomatic and logistical pressure on Ukraine, Ust-Luga Immigration Authorities have announced that, from October 16th 00:01 local time, all vessels having Ukrainian citizens on board (including crew) who are older than 14 years of age, will be placed at the back of the queue for inbound traffic/clearance/loading. The move follows a Federal order from Moscow.
Other delays from the Immigration Service may follow. Although it was not stated explicitly, the current information seems to indicate that there would not be any fines imposed if ships have Ukrainian crew on board. Shore leave and crew change of Ukrainians is prohibited in Russia.
NorthStandard advised that “all Ukrainians should be signed off before arrival to Russian ports to avoid said delays”.
The Federal Order prescribes that Ukrainian citizens older than 14 years who come into the Russian Federation may enter only through Moscow’s Sheremetievo airport (plus one land crossing point in the middle of Russia).
Correspondents Pandi Services East said that:
- The authorities would also carry out an exhaustive inspection of the vessel and interview all crew members (not only Ukrainians), which was expected to result in delays of around seven hours coming in and seven hours getting out.
- During this inspection, the berth/terminal area will be closed, with port operations suspended.
- Some agents in Ust-Luga advised that Ukrainian crew would not be permitted to enter the port and perform cargo operations.
There was no indication as to what actions would be taken if the order was disobeyed.