Crimea annexation: Crimean seaports ditched by international cruise liners – analyst

13:13 Oct. 6, 2016

Crimean seaports ditched by international cruise liners – analyst

A seaport in Crimea (GettyImages Photo)

Sanctions and media response force ships to ignore peninsula, analysts claim

Before Russia annexed Crimea, the peninsula's seaports had been successfully developing as international passenger terminals, serving hundreds of cruise liners and many dozens of thousands of passengers a year.

In 2013 Yalta seaport served 109 cruise liners (apart from "river-sea" vessels) and 77880 passengers; Sevastopol seaport - 58 liners and 23400 passengers, Feodosia seaport – 18 liners and 3479 passengers, Yevpatoria and Kerch seaports served one cruise liner each.

Read also: Maritime sanctions for Crimea made huge gap in Russian trading fleet – analyst

This is according to an expert analysis, provided by the monitoring group of Ukraine's NGO Maidan of Foreign Affairs and Black Sea News.

On our site you can read Ukraine Today's analysis of the revealed data or full version of the report. Also we present the full database on 'violator' vessels by country.

After the annexation occurred and the sanctions were introduced, foreign liners have shunned Crimea's bays almost completely.

The analysts say, liners ignore the peninsula not only because of the economic restrictions, imposed by the West and Ukraine, but also due to the response in the media, after two foreign ships had anchored in the seaport in Crimea's Yalta in 2014.  

Read also: Crimean authorities threaten to fire in response to naval blockade

On September 17, 2014 Greek cruise liner Ocean Majesty flying a Portuguese flag and chartered by the German company Hansa Touristik GmbH, arrived from Sochi port to occupied Yalta. The crew raised the Russian guest flag, thus de-facto recognizing the annexation. After this story was brought up in media, the liner cancelled its planned visit to Odessa in fear of arrest.

Another incident, involving a small cruise liner, Adriana, took place in 2014. The ship was cruising under St. Kitts and Nevis flag cruised by route Sochi – Novorossiysk – Istanbul – Yalta – Sochi. Formally, the owners are Tropicana Cruises Ltd (Cuba) and Adriana Shipping Ltd (Caribbean), though the final owner is Sergey Ponyatovskiy, the figure well known in Russian cruise business.

Read also: Russia strengthens fleet in Crimea with dozens of ships

Since July 16 till October 25 2014 cruise liner Adriana made 14 cruises from Istanbul to Sevastopol, thus violating the sanctions. Adriana announced cruises from Crimea to Turkey starting on April 15, 2015; later the start date was delayed until May. So-called Crimean Ministry of Tourism even announced the cruise schedule.

However, Turkey refused to approve cruises to Crimea and the liner had to leave Sevastopol for the Caribbean Sea on April 23, 2015. Another reasons for that was civil outrage - media, Crimean tartars and Ukrainian diplomats and general public harshly criticized the idea.

The complete study of the Maidan of Foreign Affairs titled "The Effectiveness of the International Maritime Sanctions Against Russia Over the Occupation of Crimea" will be presented in Kyiv on Friday, October 7, 2016 in partnership with Ukraine Today.

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