On 23 June 2023 the EU Council adopted the 11th package of economic sanctions against Russia to prevent their circumvention and further erode Russia’s revenues, which includes a port ban to tackle illegal transfers.
n particular, as of 24 July 2023, it shall be prohibited to provide access to EU ports and locks for vessels that engage in ship-to-ship (STS) transfers if the competent authority of the EU Member State has reasonable cause to suspect that the vessel is either in breach of the ban on importing seaborne Russian crude oil and petroleum products into the EU, or is transporting Russian crude oil or petroleum products in breach of the relevant price cap.
The prohibition applies to all vessels, irrespective of their flag of registration, and to any STS transfers carried out at any point during the voyage to a port or lock in the EU.
In any event, vessels will be prohibited from accessing ports and locks in the EU if they do not notify the competent authority of the EU Member State where the vessel is seeking access to the port/lock at least 48 hours in advance about a STS transfer occurring within the Exclusive Economic Zone of an EU Member State or within 12 nautical miles from the baseline of that EU Member State’s coast.
Similar prohibitions apply to vessels suspected of transporting Russian crude oil and petroleum products that illegally interfere, switch off or disable their shipborne automatic identification system (AIS), in breach of SOLAS Regulation V/19, point 2.4.
Exemptions are provided for to allow such vessels access to ports and locks in the territory of the EU for maritime safety, including environmental concerns, for saving life at sea and for humanitarian purposes.