Ukraine seizes Russian tanker

In a similar tit-for-tat maritime spat to the ongoing tanker showdown between the UK and Iran, Ukrainian authorities revealed yesterday they have seized a Russian tanker called Nika Spirit moored in a port along the Danube near the Black Sea. The move by the local security services is in retaliation for Russia’s seizure of three Ukrainian vessels and arrest of 24 sailors in November last year. The Ukranian crew remain in Russian jails despite international condemnation of the arrest last year.

The Russian embassy in Kyiv told news agencies late yesterday that while the Nika Spirit remained impounded, the crew were on their way back to Russia.

Ukranian security forces said the Nika Spirit had previously been called Neyma and had taken part in blocking the three Ukrainian ships in the Kerch strait by the disputed region of Crimea last year, with the owners apparently changing its name to Nika Spirit to avoid detection. European database Equasis lists Russian firm, Altomar Shipping, as the owner of the vessel.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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