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GARD: Update on Ukraine

The ongoing hostilities in Ukraine will have a considerable impact on vessels calling ports in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. The situation remains fluid and is changing by the hour.

Key updates on the situation in Ukraine
• The Ukrainian President has imposed martial law nation-wide and closed the air space to civilian flights.
• Explosions and troop movements have been reported across many cities in the Ukraine.
• Our correspondent has reported that many institutions in the country have been affected whilst noting that it is difficult to gain access to reliable information due to misreporting.
• Vessels in Ukrainian ports may become collateral damage as part of strikes on Ukrainian ports.
Sea of Azov:
• Sea of Azov is reportedly closed to commercial vessels.
• Traffic through Kerch Strait is also closed, except for vessels transiting to the Black Sea.
• According to our correspondents, the following waiting areas are designated for vessels:
45°40,0 N 036°21,0 Е;
45°40.0 N 036°30.0 E;
45°34.0 N 036°30.0 Е;
45°34.0 N 036°21.0 Е;
47°00,0 N 038°22,0 Е;
47°00.0 N 038°29.0 E;
46°58.5 N 038°29.0 Е;
46°58.0 N 038°22.0 Е

Black Sea:
• All Ukrainian commercial ports have reportedly stopped operations. If a vessel is located at a Ukrainian port, plans to depart should be made as soon as safely possible.
• Russian Navy has restricted access to the north-western part of the Black Sea, which is north of 45º 21’ parallel. Vessels wishing to leave the prohibited area are recommended to follow routes 44 and 60 within a 4-mile band along these routes.
• Operation of all Russian ports based in the Black Sea is reportedly continuing in a routine manner.

We will update this section as and when we receive further updates.

Navigation related challenges and precautions

The US Department of Transport in their Advisory 2022-002 has indicated that one of the risks vessels may experience is GPS interference, AIS spoofing, and/or other communications jamming when navigating in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.

There are also reports that electronic warfare may be employed. If so, then it may affect electronic systems on vessels.

Vessels are also likely to encounter disruption due to navigational restrictions in this region.

At the time of writing, AIS data indicates that there is a build-up of vessels either at anchor or drifting on either side of Bosporus Straits and Kerch Straits. Vessels are advised to maintain safe distance from other vessels, keep a sharp lookout and have their engines ready for manoeuvring.

The situation remains volatile and changing and we recommend all vessels operating in the relevant geographical areas to carefully assess the situation, exercise caution, and review their relevant contingency plans, including the crisis communication plan, in case of an incident.

Vessels may have received security information from their flag administrations regarding the ISPS Code security level. As an example, on 24 February 2022 the Norwegian Maritime Authority (NMA) raised the security level to MARSEC/ISPS 3 for Norwegian flagged vessels operating in the northern part of the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. If such instructions are not received, it is recommended to pursue this with the vessel’s flag administration.

In the event of any incident or suspicious activity, vessels should notify its flag administration and the NATO Shipping Center (NSC). Any vessels challenged by Russian military vessels should comply fully with their instructions.

Ukraine and Russian waters added to JWC listed areas

As a result of escalated tensions between Ukraine and Russia, Ukrainian and Russian waters in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov have been included in the latest revision to the list of Hull War, Piracy, Terrorism and Related Perils Listed Areas (JWLA-028) by the Joint War Committee (JWC). Owners are advised to get in touch with their war risk insurers when calling any port falling within the above-mentioned region.
Source: GARD, https://www.gard.no/web/updates/content/33161908/update-on-ukraine

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