After the termination of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Maritime Administrator has raised the security level setting for vessels operating in the Black Sea.

Security levels
The Administrator currently requires a setting of SECURITY LEVEL III (or equivalent security measures) for all RMI-registered vessels operating in the EEZ of Ukraine. Due to recent attacks on the port of Novorossiysk, and the threat of additional attacks on merchant vessels, RMI-registered vessels in the Black Sea EEZ of Russia are required to operate at a setting of SECURITY LEVEL III (or equivalent security measures).

Commercial vessels should not attempt to enter the Sea of Azov or the Northwest Black Sea north of 45° 21’ since access will be denied by Russian military forces. This setting is subject to change as the dynamic situation progresses.


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Ships intending to call at a port/port facility in the areas depicted above must ensure that security measures equivalent to Ship Security Level III are implemented as per the Ship Security Plan.

If cargo operations at Russian ports in the Black Sea are necessary, a Declaration of Security should first be carried out with the Port Facility Security Officer (PFSO).

Ships currently located at Ukrainian ports must remain in place until permission to depart is granted by the Ukrainian military.

Lights should be switched off at night or kept to a bare minimum.

Masters should assess whether to switch off the automatic identification system (AIS) due to an imminent security threat while stuck alongside or within Ukrainian port limits. This may help mitigate the risk of unintentional GPS-guided targeting by military forces.


The Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) Maritime Administrator advises that:

  • Commercial vessels should avoid any transit or operation within the EEZ of Ukraine or Russia within the Black Sea. Access to the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait is currently blocked by Russian forces.
  • All Ukrainian ports have been closed by the Ukrainian military. Commercial ships may not enter or leave port, unless individually cleared to do so by Ukrainian authorities.
  • Access to the northwest Black Sea is restricted by the Russian Navy. Transit in this area should not be attempted.
  • Vessels should ensure the AIS is always transmitting (except when the master is concerned that continuing to operate AIS might compromise the safety or security of the ship or when a security incident is imminent), consistent with provisions of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and monitor VHF.
  • Any vessels hailed by military vessels should comply fully with instructions.
  • Armed security personnel are not to be embarked while operating in the Black Sea.


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Issue 86 of Robban Assafina

(Jul./ Aug. 2023)


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