Access the latest Maritime Security Threat Advisory for the week commencing 7th August 2023.
👉 On Sunday, a Russian naval vessel released warning shots at a cargo ship navigating the southwestern Black Sea, marking the first instance of Russia targeting merchant vessels beyond Ukraine since withdrawing from a significant UN-mediated grain agreement last month. The Russian statement identified the warship as the Vasily Bykov patrol ship, which took action against the Palau-registered Sukru Okan vessel. While Russia claimed the ship was en route to the Ukrainian port of Izmail, Refinitiv shipping data indicated its proximity to Bulgaria's coast, advancing towards the Romanian port of Sulina.
Within the last reporting period Ukraine declared a "humanitarian passage" in the Black Sea to facilitate the exit of cargo vessels that have been confined in its harbors since Russia invaded Ukraine in Feb 2022.
This passage serves as a fresh challenge to Russia's implicit blockade, especially after Moscow renounced an agreement the previous month that permitted Kyiv to export grain. Moscow has yet to signal if it will recognize the maritime passage, and individuals in the shipping and insurance sectors have voiced apprehensions regarding safety.