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Sergey Nedelko Delivers a Speech at the Online Marathon “Maritime Business in Time of War”

News date: 5 September 2022

Sergey Nedelko, Attorney at Law, Head of Odesa Office of Ilyashev & Partners, delivered a report at the online marathon “Business under martial law. Maritime business in time of war 2022”, held on 26 August 2022. The event was organized by Ukrainian Advocates’ Association.

In his report “The problem of bunkering foreign ships in Ukrainian ports: another challenge for the authorities in wartime conditions and why it is necessary to respond to it right now” Sergey noted that before the Russia’s full-scale invasion, Ukrainian ports were the leaders in the Black Sea region in terms of the number of vessel entries. Despite this, foreign ships did not have an opportunity to carry out bunkering operations in Ukraine and replenish their stocks of fuel and lubricants, which make up the lion’s share of the operating costs of the shipowners. The main problem is the state’s fiscal policy, which requires full customs clearance of fuel, which makes this market uncompetitive. Therefore, shipowners have to bunker in the ports of Istanbul and Constanta, as well as outside the 12-mile zone. In July 2022, the Government devoted attention to this problem and actually allowed bunkering operations near the ports of Reni and Izmail on the Danube River, which should increase the speed and significantly facilitate the logistics of export-import cargo.

“Current legislation already provides for customs procedures that would allow bunkering operations of foreign vessels in the customs territory of Ukraine without paying customs fees. This practice is generally accepted in many countries of the world and brings economic and environmental benefits for Ukraine, such as: creating additional jobs, increasing the number of vessel entries and engaging cargo flows, stable functioning of the “grain initiative”, minimizing environmental risks, etc. In addition, ensuring the provision of bunkering services in ports is a requirement of the MARPOL 73/78 Convention, as well as a task to be solved in accordance with the Strategy for the Development of Seaports of Ukraine for the period up to 2038. However, rather controversial interpretation of the provisions of the customs legislation by the customs authorities does not allow the bunkering market to work in Ukraine”, – Sergey Nedelko noted.

The participants of the panel also discussed the prospects of legal regulation of the departure of Ukrainian sailors abroad during martial law, the problems of using maritime infrastructure facilities and the operation of the “grain corridor”.

Online Marathon of Ukrainian Advocates’ Association is a platform created for communication between lawyers, judges, representatives of government agencies and business for the purpose of discussing current legal problems and ways to solve them.