The first days after Russia invaded Ukraine, at least three merchant ships were hit in the Odesa area. Through a deterrent example, their shelling by Russian vessels was probably intended to isolate – to close off access to Ukrainian ports – Odesa and others in the area.
In these waters, two Polsteam vessels, which left the Odesa area on Thursday, February 24, were also at anchor in ballast, awaiting further instructions or loading in one of the nearby ports due to the potentially dangerous situation.
The kamsarmax type bulk carrier Karpaty had been at anchorage No 351 of the port of Chernomorsk since February 22. It arrived there in ballast after the last unloading in the Turkish port of Mersin. She left the roadstead of Chernomorsk on Thursday, February 24, before noon and passed through the Bosphorus Strait on Saturday, February 26. During the night – early morning on Monday, February 28, the Karpaty had been in the outer anchorage of Istanbul for at least a day.
The bulk carrier Rysy left Chernomorsk roadstead before noon on February 24. The ship had been waiting there in ballast since February 19, once she had previously been unloaded in Egypt. The ship arrived at anchorage No. 2 of the port of Constanta in Romania on February 26 and the following afternoon was already at the quay of the Chimpex terminal in Constanta, where it began loading, probably with grain or feed.
The Polish ships leaving the endangered area did the same as the other dozen vessels then at the same anchorages.
On Thursday, February 24, the NATO Shipping Centre – NSC, published a recommendation on the situation in the Black Sea arising as a result of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
Given the aggravated situation in the northern Black Sea region, the NSC recommended in an official communication that ships in the Black Sea should exercise caution and stay away from areas where military operations are underway.
“ It is recommended that ships follow the instructions of international and national maritime authorities. Furthermore, it is recommended that the Black Sea voyage be carefully considered and planned based on an assessment of the escalating security situation” – the NSC reported.
The NATO Shipping Centre communiqué stressed that “GPS jamming, AIS spoofing and other electronic interference should be expected throughout the northern Black Sea. Harassment and attempts to divert shipping cannot be ruled out.
Recall that on Friday, February 25, the Japanese bulk carrier Namura Queen, sailing under the flag of Panama, was hit in the superstructure area probably by a Russian missile, while at berth in the outer anchorage of the port of Yuzhny.
Probably two artillery shells hit the tanker Millenial Spirit on the same day, which consequently burst into flames. It was then 12 Mm south of the port of Yuzhnyy. The country of origin of the shipowner of this vessel is uncertain, but it is likely to be Malta, while the ship carries the flag of Moldova.
A day earlier, on February 24, the Marshall Islands-flagged bulk carrier Yasa Jupiter, owned by a Turkish shipowner, was severely damaged, in the wheelhouse area, off the coast of Ukraine in the Odesa region.