As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, there are increasing reports of missile attacks on merchant ships. Now the NATO Shipping Center is warning that risks to shipping also include mine danger areas.
NATO says that with a high risk of collateral damage in the northwestern Black Sea within Ukrainian territorial waters and adjacent international waters, civilian shipping is encouraged to exercise caution and be on high alert in the area.
While mine danger areas are a new threat, NATO continues to encourage shipping to stay in close contact with national and local maritime authorities. Shipping should to thoroughly document any incidents and report these via their respective national channels and to the local maritime authorities.
“The risks of GPS interference issues, AIS spoofing, other electronic interference and cyber attacks in the area are still considered very high,” says NATO. “Harassment and diversion of shipping in the area is also considered highly likely.”
Vessels must ensure the automatic identification system (AIS) is always transmitting (except when the master believes 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 Channel 16.
MINE DANGER AREAS
The mine danger areas include, according to a warning from the Spanish Hydrographic Office cited by NATO:
BLACK SEA – NORTHWESTERN PART
1.- DUE TO MINE DANGER NAVIGATION PROHIBITED UNTILL FURTHER NOTICE IN AREA BOUNDED BY:
46-00.9N 033-04.8E AND COASTLINE
46-22.2N 031-31.9E AND COASTLINE
46-36.7N 031-31.8E AND COASTLINE
46-31.7 N 030-46.6E
46-30.9 N 030-49.8E
46-33.4 N 030-59.7E
46-36.0N 031-00.8E AND COASTLINE