So-called Donetsk National Republic seized two foreign vessels stuck at Mariupol port
The Russian-controlled self-declared Donetsk National Republic seized two foreign ships which got stuck in temporarily occupied Mariupol. Through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the self-proclaimed republic notified two shipping companies of the “compulsory seizure of movable property with conversion to state property”. Invaders have declared the vessels “state property” and did not mention any compensation, the shipowners said.
One of the hijacked vessels is the Liberian-flagged bulk carrier Smarta. Smarta Shipping said it received notice of the ship’s “arrest” on June 30. The company has called the situation illegal and posing a serious threat to shipping and maritime safety. The bulk carrier Smarta arrived in Mariupol on Feb 21 to be loaded with steels. The vessel got under artillery fire on Mar 20 and was damaged. The crew was forcibly taken to Donetsk and released in a month only.
The second ship hijacked by the terrorists is the Panama-flagged Blue Star I. The shipowner refused to comment the situation and added that the Security Service of Ukraine had received all necessary information about the case.
The DNR is planning to use the foreign vessels standing in the occupied Mariupol to create its own merchant fleet.
It should be noted that six foreign-flagged ships have got stuck at the port of Mariupol since the beginning of the war. Russia is trying to cover up the theft of the ships by saying that the ship-owning companies did not take necessary steps to get the ships out of the port.
Note that the two foreign vessels mentioned above are unable to leave Mariupol port, as they need repairs. However, the Azov Shipyard is has been almost totally destroyed by Russian military forces, so the repairs are impossible.