Ukrainian court refuses to release detained Russian tanker
The Kherson City Court has rejected a claim of the shipowner seeking to lift a ban on the Russian Mekhanik Pogodin oil tanker, Ukrainian President’s so-called permanent representative to Crimea, Boris Babin, said on Monday.
"Today, the Kherson City Court has dismissed the claim of the owner of the Mekhanik Pogodin tanker to terminate the blocking of this property subject to sanctions <…> " he wrote on his Facebook page.
The press service of V.F. Tanker previously told TASS that the lawsuit had been lodged because of the refusal to issue a permit for the Mekhanik Pogodin tanker to leave the port. Preliminary estimates suggest that damage, caused by the ban on the vessel to leave the port, exceeds 200,000 euros ($227,000), the press service added.
On August 10, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) blocked the Russian vessel at the port of Kherson, saying that its owner had been blacklisted by Kiev.
According to the captain, the tanker was carrying a diesel fuel cargo from Turkmenistan to Ukraine under a freightage contract in the interests of Canada’s Oil Marine Shipping and Chartering.
The vessel’s operating company, V.F.Tanker, said that the crewmembers had prevented an illicit entry attempt by the Ukrainian authorities.
The company previously noted that "the port authorities and customs service had been notified that the vessel’s detention was groundless and illegal and could entail liability for damages" because they had violated the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to the Arrest of Sea-going Ships.
Relations between Russia and Ukraine further deteriorated after the Kerch Strait incident.
The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) reported on November 25 that the Ukrainian warships, the Berdyansk, the Nikopol and the Yany Kapu had breached the Russian state border on Sunday morning and later attempted to carry out illegal maneuvers in Russia’s territorial waters later. The Ukrainian vessels ignored the legitimate demands of the Coast Guard of the FSB Border Service and the Black Sea Fleet to stop immediately and end their dangerous action. The Ukrainian warships carried on, blatantly disregarding these orders, triggered a chase involving some gunfire to stop them. Consequently, the ships were detained in Russian territorial waters.
Moscow branded Kiev's stunt in the Kerch Strait a dangerous provocation, while the European Union and NATO called for a de-escalation of tensions.