Following years of issues relating to the sampling and testing of ballast water and the actions by the ‘ecological inspectorate’ for ships in Ukraine, a Ukrainian Court has now ruled against the ecological inspectorate in a case related to control of ballast and allegations of pollution in the port of Yuzhnyi.
ccording to information by North P&I Club, a vessel was carrying out deballasting operations in July 2019, when the ecological inspectors alleged pollution and issued the vessel with a substantial fine and a detention order, which also included a fine issued direct to the ship’s master.
ANK Law Office acted on behalf of the master, arguing the inspectorate’s actions were unlawful. The court agreed with their position and ruled in the master’s favor. Then, acting on behalf of the shipowner, a successful claim was made against the inspectorate to return the funds paid in fines. This led to an appeal by the inspectorate. However, in May 2021 the Fifth Appeal Administrative Court (Odesa, Ukraine) declined the appeal claim submitted by the ecological inspectorate against the first instance judgment.
ANK Law Office advise that this case concerned the largest financial amount awarded by the court in a shipowner’s favour in ballast-related cases, and that this is the first case where the appeal court awarded in favour of the owners,
…the Club informed.
Further to reported issues regarding the sampling and testing of ballast water in Ukraine and the historic concerns on the actions by ecological inspectors, the Ukrainian Government announced in February 2020 the closing down of the ‘State Ecological Inspection for Protection of the Black Sea’.
Local correspondent Dias Consulting reports that responsibilities on ballast water quality will be shifted to regional departments. Svertilov Marine Consulting has added that this will also be under the supervision of the Ukrainian Ministry of Environment, also advising that shutting down the current inspectorate will be a lengthy and complex process, so it may remain in operation during this period.