Access the latest Maritime Security Threat Advisory for the week commencing 21st August 2023.
👉 Within the last reporting period a cargo vessel has completed its journey from Ukraine to Turkey across the Black Sea, following a route established by Kyiv to bypass the Russian blockade of its harbours.
Data indicates that the Joseph Schulte, jointly owned by German and Chinese entities and sailing under the Hong Kong flag, reached the Bosphorus Strait in Turkey early on Friday. Observers also confirmed its entry into the waters of the NATO member nation.
Previously, the vessel had been anchored at Odesa, a southern Ukrainian port, for 18 months, arriving just a day prior to the commencement of Russia's invasion. This successful transit marks the maiden voyage under Kyiv's newly introduced "humanitarian corridor", aiming to ensure safe navigation amidst the Black Sea's mined areas. The Ukrainian Navy states that this channel will mainly serve civilian vessels that have been stationed at the Ukrainian harbours of Chornomorsk, Odesa, and Pivdennyi since the onset of the Russian large-scale assault. Following Russia's recent exit from a U.N.-mediated grain agreement, which facilitated the export of 32.9 million tons of food from Ukraine, thus preventing potential famine in the Global South, Ukraine's maritime structures have faced significant attacks.
Post this withdrawal, Russian military forces have intensified their warnings against ships in international Black Sea waters. Moscow's leadership has cautioned that any ship heading to Ukrainian ports might be viewed as transporting military goods and has yet to recognize Kyiv's designated shipping route.