2022-009-Black Sea and Sea of Azov-Military Combat Operations
This advisory updates and cancels U.S. Maritime Advisory 2022-004.
1. References: U.S. Maritime Advisory 2022-005; NATO Shipping Center “Risk of Collateral Damage in the North Western, Western, and Southwest Black Sea”; and United Nations (UN) Black Sea Grain Initiative Joint Coordination Center website.
2. Issue: Since Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine in late February, there have been reports of multiple commercial vessels being struck by projectiles and/or experiencing explosions in Ukrainian ports, and in the Northwestern Black Sea off the coast of Ukraine. There have also been reports of naval mines, both moored and drifting, in many areas of the Black Sea. There is a high risk of damage to U.S.-flagged commercial vessels in this region.
3. Guidance: U.S. flagged commercial vessels should avoid entering or approaching the Sea of Azov, Ukrainian ports, or Ukrainian territorial waters in the Northwestern Black Sea unless participating in the UN Black Sea Grain Initiative. Vessels operating near these areas are advised to exercise caution; conduct a risk assessment; review security measures; review current NATO Shipping Center, NAVAREA III and other local broadcast warnings; and incorporate appropriate protective measures into their vessel security plans. Vessels should ensure AIS is transmitting at all times (except when the master believes that continuing to operate AIS might compromise the safety or security of the ship), in keeping with provisions of the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), and monitor VHF Channel 16. Vessels participating in the UN Black Sea Grain Initiative should follow the procedures posted on the Joint Coordination Center website (https://www.un.org/en/black-sea-grain-initiative/updates).
In the event of any incident or suspicious activity, U.S. flagged commercial vessels should immediately notify the NATO Shipping Center and activate the Ship Security Alert System. U.S. flagged commercial vessels are also encouraged to participate in the NATO Shipping Center’s Mediterranean Voluntary Reporting Scheme. This entails contacting the NATO Shipping Center when entering or departing the Mediterranean Sea, and/or departing port in the Mediterranean Sea. The preferred reporting method is online via the “Mediterranean Reporting Scheme – Format A” link at https://shipping.nato.int/nsc. Alternatively, the forms can be downloaded, filled in, and submitted either via email to email@example.com or by fax to +44 (0) 1923-956-575.
Vessels operating in these areas may encounter GPS interference, AIS spoofing, and/or other communications jamming. Maritime GPS disruptions or anomalies should be reported immediately to the USCG NAVCEN at https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/ or via phone at 703-313-5900, 24-hours a day. Additional guidance for vessels experiencing GPS interference can be found in Maritime Advisory 2022-005 at https://www.maritime.dot.gov/msci-advisories.
In accordance with 33 CFR 101.305, all suspicious activities, breaches of security, and transportation security incident events must be reported to the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center.
U.S. mariners in this area are advised to consult Department of State Travel Advisories at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/. American citizens abroad should inform the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of their plans to transit the area and/or update their information via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at: https://step.state.gov/step/.
4. Contact Information:
a) NATO Shipping Center (NSC): firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 1923-956-574. NSC Advisories and warnings can be found at https://shipping.nato.int/nsc.
b) UN Black Sea Grain Initiative Joint Coordination Center: admin@JCC-Secretariat.org. Additional information is available at https://www.un.org/en/black-sea-grain-initiative/updates.
c) U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center: +1-800-424-8802 or email@example.com.
d) For maritime industry questions about this advisory, contact GMCC@uscg.mil. Supplemental information may also be found on the MARAD Office of Maritime Security website at: https://www.maritime.dot.gov/ports/office-security/office-maritime-security.
5. Cancellation of Prior Advisories: This message supersedes and cancels U.S. Maritime Advisory 2022-004.
6. This message will automatically expire on March 3, 2023.
For more information about U.S. Maritime Alerts and Advisories, including subscription details, please visit https://www.maritime.dot.gov/msci/maritime-security-communications-industry-msci-web-portal.