Ukraine seized Russian tanker for allegedly, hostile activities. Retaliation?

Product tanker NIKA SPIRIT (ex-NEYMA) was detained by Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) on Jul 25, SBU is requesting arrest warrant in Ukrainian Court. Tanker arrived at Izmail Port, Ukraine, on Jul 24. According to Ukraine official statement, tanker was involved in hostile activities (blocking Kerch Strait) during November 2018 incident, when Russian Navy and Coast Guard tried to prevent Ukrainian Navy gun boats from Strait transit, and seized several Ukrainian Navy servicemen, in violation of all agreements and laws, regulating Strait passage. Russia was blamed for the incident, by the majority of international community.

On Jul 18 Russia detained in Port of Yeisk, Azov sea, Russia, Ukrainian general cargo ship LIZORI (IMO 7235070), after SUR/ITF inspection found technical detainable defaults and wages debts, totaling $11,000 (all 14 crew on board are Ukrainians – total $11,000 debts don’t seem too big, especially if debts were calculated by ITF “inspectors”). Interestingly, PSC wasn’t mentioned – only trade union inspectors. Since what time ITF inspectors are authorized to detain ships on technical defaults grounds?

As of Jul 25, LIZORI was still at Yeysk, situation not clear.
Probably, tanker NIKA SPIRIT seizure was in retaliation to dubious detention of Ukrainian ship LIZORI.

Product tanker NIKA SPIRIT (ex-NEYMA), IMO 8895528, dwt 3794, built 1989, flag Russia, manager ALTOMAR SHIPPING LTD, Gelendzik Russia.

Author

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Hi! My name is Stepan Kotcherga, I’m Merchant Marine Navigation Officer, now a Second Officer working on dry cargo ships. My home is in Ukraine. I’m contributing maritime news and inside info.