Congestion in the Black Sea off Istanbul has increased due to delays in waiting times for the Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) inspections, particularly for laden vessels. By way of a reminder, the JCC’s role is to implement the Black Sea Grain Initiative, a humanitarian maritime corridor to allow ships to export grain, other foodstuffs and fertilizers from Ukraine. Despite recent news that the Russians had pulled out of the initiative, the situation has been rectified and JCC operations are again proceeding in the usual manner as at the date of this alert.
Turkish correspondents, Kalimbassieris Maritime Limited, have advised that waiting times for laden vessels have recently increased to 2 weeks, with approximately 112 vessels registered for inspection and another 89 waiting to join the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Inspection waiting times may increase further with the onset of winter, when adverse weather may prevent attendance onboard vessels. Waiting times for JCC inspections on unladen vessels are currently between 8 to 12 days, dependent on the intended load port.
Due to the congestion, vessels are being advised to await instructions and drift either in the Black Sea or Marmara Sea dependent on their direction of voyage. Prior to then transiting the Bosphorus Strait, ships are typically ordered to wait at anchor for one day. Given local congestion, members should pay particular attention to ensure they do not anchor outside designated anchorage areas.
The correspondents advise that laden vessels that are subject to fumigation should provide a completed declaration form, a copy of which is attached at the bottom of this page for guidance.
The correspondents have highlighted the following common reasons why inspections are failed, along with their comments in capitals to assist members preparing for a JCC inspection:
- Fumigation phosphine test kit tubes – CHECK EXPIRY DATE
- Evidence of fumigation and ventilation missing – CHECK SHIPS LOG ENTRY HAS BEEN MADE
- Fumigation test not conducted – ENSURE PHOSPHINE TUBE TEST IS CONDUCTED
- Photographic or video evidence provided of fumigation test – PHOTO / VIDEO
- DECLARATION OF READINESS not submitted – CHECK DECLARATION HAS BEEN SUBMITTED
- Crew list from by agent does not match the masters crew list – CHECK CREW LISTS MATCH
- Ballast tanks not open – OPEN TANKS
- Failure to respond to JCC letter of Non-Compliance – ENSURE FULL REPLY HAS BEEN SENT
- Transiting the humanitarian corridor outside of the allowed times, i.e. 05:00 – 21:00 hours.
Given the current waiting times, which are expected to increase, the correspondents also advise that vessels should be suitably prepared, and consideration should be given to the vessel’s consumption requirements for provisions, fresh water and fuel for a prolonged stay.
The JCC procedures and operational update can be found in our news article, linked below. Updates from the JCC can be found on the United Nations website.
Members intending to proceed to Ukraine are advised to contact their broker or usual club contact in advance.
Source: The Standard Club