russia blocks loaded with grain bulker in Berdyansk port

For almost two weeks, the russian occupants have been blocking the passage of the bulk carrier Admiral sailing under the flag of the Comoros through the Kerch–Yenikale canal. The vessel was loaded with 5,400 t of wheat in the Port of Berdyansk for delivery to the Turkish Port of Mersin, reports.

The vessel arrived at its anchorage in the Sea of Azov outside the Kerch Strait at 5:20 a.m. local time on 16 March 2022. On arrival, the captain of the vessel was instructed to await inspection by the Russian coastguard. The time of the inspection was not specified.

Through 19 March, the captain was notified that, due to high winds (over 9 m/s) and high waves, the inspection could not be carried out as the coastguard boats could not moor to the vessel. A storm warning was issued on 19 March and continued until 21 March.

"On 21 March at 5.30 p.m. local time, the coastguard carried out an inspection. No comments were made during the inspection and no certificates or protocols were drawn up. On 22 March the captain was informed that the vessel had been given free pratique and would start the caravan around 9 a.m. However, the wind intensified again and the storm warning was extended until 24 March," the message reads.

After the storm warning was lifted, all vessels except Admiral and Maori (another vessel also departed Berdyansk port on 15 March with a cargo of grain to Turkey) were included in the caravan, passed through the canal and continued their voyages.

According to sources, the Admiral's free pratique was abolished and the captain was informed that permission for passage had not been received and had to be awaited from a higher authority. Consequently, a second inspection was carried out at 1.30 p.m. on 24 March, during which again no remarks were received, no documents were drawn up and no documents were handed to the captain. The captain again warned that the Admiral would soon be included in the caravans. At 10:00 p.m. the caravan to the Black Sea started, but again the vessel was not listed in it.

"Canal authorities again claimed that there is no permit for passage, inspection was awaited," one source says.

This same situation recurred on 25 March. As of 26 March, it did not change. No permits have been granted for the passage of the canal and no reason has been given.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reports that the russian occupiers are trying to rebuild the port infrastructure.

As a reminder, russian warship Saratov was destroyed by the Naval Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in Berdyansk on 24 March.

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