The Russian vessel was arrested for the second time by a Ukrainian court for allegedly illegal sand mining off the coast of Crimea. This was announced on Monday, May 18, by the press service of the office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine.
“The Pechersky district court of Kiev on May 16, 2020 granted the request of the main investigative Department of the national Police, agreed with the office of the Prosecutor General, and seized the ship in a criminal case on the fact of illegal sand mining,” RIA Novosti reports the information of the Ukrainian Department.
Sand extraction by ship, according to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s office, was carried out “in the protected areas of the Black sea” off the Crimean coast. The materials of this case were transferred to the Department for crimes committed in the context of armed conflict of the office of the Ukrainian Prosecutor General.
As noted by the Odessa newspaper “Duma” on its official page in the social network “Vkontakte”, we are talking about the bulk carrier Seabreeze.
The first arrest on this vessel was imposed on July 16, 2018 by the Primorsky district court of Odessa at the request of the Ukrainian Prosecutor’s office, allegedly in order to compensate for losses for illegal sand extraction in the amount of more than 140 million hryvnia ($5.2 million). Later, the court lifted the said arrest, and the Prosecutor’s office, in turn, appealed the decision.
The SeaBreeze ship, which belongs to the Russian company Trans Services Maritime, was arrested on April 10 of the same year in Odessa, allegedly because of illegal sand mining in the Karkinitsky Bay area of the Black sea. The cargo ship became the second Russian vessel to be arrested by the decision of the Ukrainian authorities. In late March, Ukrainian border guards detained a Russian fishing vessel “Nord” in the sea of Azov, which was also seized.
The head of the Federation Council’s international Affairs Committee, Konstantin Kosachev, then called Kiev’s actions acts of outright piracy. The Russian foreign Ministry, in turn, after increasing cases of illegal detention of Russian vessels, warned shipowners about the increased risks of pirate hijackings of Russian vessels by Ukrainian law enforcement agencies.
At the end of April 2018, the government of Ukraine adopted an order banning the transit and transportation of goods on the territory of Ukraine by vessels under the Russian flag.
The country’s Cabinet also supported a ban on transit through Ukrainian territory for any watercraft that make calls at the ports of Crimea and Sevastopol.