NO: DELENG / 2017 / 70663
official media partner of national maritime foundation
Backlog of Ships Grows in Black Sea Following Russia's Firing of Shots at Cargo Vessel
By Sea and Coast | 17/08/2023
Congestion Persists in Black Sea Waters as Ports Address Backlogs Amid Rising Concerns
The lanes around the Black Sea remain congested for merchant vessels as ports grapple with backlog resolution, causing apprehension among shipping companies and insurers after a Russian warship fired warning shots at a cargo ship.
Russia reported that its Vasily Bykov patrol vessel fired warning shots at the Palau-flagged vessel Şükrü Okan on Sunday. This action came after the captain declined to stop for an inspection. Following an examination, the ship continued its journey toward the port of Izmail in Ukraine along the Danube River, according to Russia.
On Monday, Kyiv termed Russia's activities "provocative" and urged the international community to take immediate action.
Despite the situation, sources linked to the insurance industry noted stable rates for additional war risk premiums on Monday, although the possibility of an increase existed if a vessel suffered impairment or sinking.
Renewed every seven days and added to yearly insurance expenses, the cost of a Black Sea war risk premium was estimated to be tens of thousands of dollars per voyage.
Around Musura Bay in the Black Sea, at least 30 ships were anchored, leading to a channel connecting to Izmail, as indicated by tracking data from MarineTraffic on Monday.
About 20 vessels were anchored in the approach to Izmail, with more than 15 observed near the port of Constanta. MarineTraffic data from the previous week revealed that many of these vessels were bound for ports in Romania.
Romania announced its intention on Monday to double Ukraine's grain transit capacity to Constanta, targeting four million tons on a month-on-month basis in the coming months.
The incident on Sunday cast a shadow over Ukraine's plans to establish a "humanitarian corridor" in the Black Sea for releasing cargo vessels trapped in Ukrainian ports since the outbreak of war.
Approximately 60 vessels remain stuck in Ukraine's ports, including Odesa, which was part of the Turkey- and UN-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) from which Moscow withdrew.
Moscow indicated a willingness to return to the grain deal under improved terms for its food and fertilizer exports. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a major supporter of the grain deal, expressed hope for Russia's reengagement in discussions scheduled for the upcoming month.
Among the vessels stranded in Odesa, the Joseph Schulte remains immobilized. The spokesperson for the Schulte Group, the parent company of the vessel's German-based BSM, reported ongoing efforts to facilitate the vessel's movement, despite the challenges presented by permits and variables. The situation remains intricate.