The Ukrainian government has imposed thirty days of martial law, starting from 28 November and ending on 27 December, across ten regions of Ukraine bordering Russia to the east and the Black and Azov Seas to the south.

The crisis erupted when border patrol boats from Russia’s FSB security service seized two small Ukrainian armored artillery vessels and a tug boat, after opening fire on them and wounding three sailors on Sunday. The Ukrainian vessels had been trying to enter the Sea of Azov from the Black Sea via the narrow Kerch Strait that separates Crimea from the Russian mainland, according to Reuters.

Key points 

  • The martial law was not declared on all the territory of Ukraine, but just in some Regions having the common border with Russia, as well as on coastline territories. At the present time there are no serious restrictions on the operation of the state services and bodies.
  • Public areas are freely accessible to foreign seafarers.
  • All Ukrainian ports, including Mariupol and Berdyansk, are working normally and there are no additional restrictions in the ports relating to Martial Law.
  • Whilst Russian seafarers onboard vessels calling at Ukraine will not be subject to discrimination and persecution, in line with existing regulations, Immigration Authorities may investigate further or bring charges against Russian seafarers who have previously visited Crimean ports.
  • Foreign vessels heading to Ukrainian ports on the Azov Sea, such as Mariupol and Berdyansk, may be detained in the Kerch Strait for inspection and search. It is thought unlikely that this will be the case if the vessels are heading to Russian Ports.

Credit: Dias Marine Consulting

On of the worst aspects of the matter is that foreign vessels heading to the Ukrainian ports on the Azov Sea (such as Mariupol and Berdyansk) may be detained in the Kerch Strait for inspection and search,

...said Igor Cherezov from Dias Marine Consulting PC, adding however:

We presume that foreign vessels heading through the Kerch Strait to the Russian ports on the Azov Sea will have no problems at that and will not be delayed.