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Shipping in Black Sea partially renewed via new route, undermining Russian blockade

A map of areas of the Black Sea that will be closed for exercises of the Russian Federation with missile and artillery fire as of 15:00 Kyiv time 11.02.2022.  (Coordinates published on the website of the official international coordinator of NAVAREA III – Instituto Hidrográfico de la Marina, Cádiz, Spain, part of the Navy and the Spanish Ministry of Defense). Credit:
Shipping in Black Sea partially renewed via new route, undermining Russian blockade
A deepwater trade route was found to circumvent the Russian blockade and to resume trade in the Black Sea. In the evening of 14 February 2022, the MV Melia cargo ship with a draft of 12.85 m successfully traveled via the new Black Sea route from the Neptune grain terminal in the Ukrainian Pivdennyi port. This is the first Panamax-class ship to successfully bypass the Russian blockade closer to the Ukrainian coast.

As was reported earlier, this week Russia is effectively blocking the Black and Azov seas for Ukraine under the pretext of military drills. Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs claims this is a violation of international law. But a practical solution has already been found to resume trade, the founder of Neptune trading company Stavnister Andrey said:

“Thanks to the efficiency and persistence of the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine… they found deepwater routes and calmly did their job. This is a big win… the ports can operate normally,” Stavnister said, adding that “We now have to talk a lot with our international partners and convince them that the situation from the inside looks much better than it may seem from the headlines of world media.”

In the near future, the State Hydrography agency will issue an official statement confirming the depth of 15+ meters and the ports will operate normally.

New 15-meter deep ship route in the Black Sea closer to Ukrainian coast that is bypassing Russian blockade. Photo by Stavnister Andrey

Since the morning of 14 February 2022, many smaller ships were ignoring Russian military drills, crossing freely the area designated for drills which encompassed 90% of the width of the Black Sea near Ukrainian ports. This was reported by the Black Sea Monitoring Group with the comment that shipmen take example from Irish fishermen, who successfully disrupted Russian military drills in the end of January 2022.

Ships freely crossing the red area which Russia claimed for military drills in 10-20 February 2022. Source: Black Sea Monitoring Group

How Ukraine can prevent an imminent Russian blockade of the Black & Azov Seas


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