Commercial Shipping hit in Black Sea

Military officials in Ukraine have reported that a Russian missile struck a foreign-flagged commercial vessel, resulting in one death and four injuries, shortly after it entered a port in the Odesa region on the country’s Black Sea coast on Wednesday, November 8.

Officials said the Liberian-registered civilian vessel suffered damage to its superstructure after being struck while loading iron at the Port of Pivdennyi.

A Ukrainian military report stated that the damaged vessel was the 92,000DWT bulk carrier KMAX Ruler. One Ukrainian harbour pilot died, and three Filipino crew members were injured. The missile that struck the vessel was a Russian-made Kh-31P air-to-surface missile. However, it remains unclear whether the vessel was the missile’s intended target.

The ongoing armed conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine presents a serious and immediate threat to the safety and security of crews and vessels operating in the region.

Following the termination of the Black Sea Grain Initiative that resulted in the closure of vessel traffic to Ukrainian Black Sea ports, Russia declared that any ships heading to Ukrainian port facilities could be perceived as carrying military cargo, making them legitimate military targets. In response, Ukraine announced that it would also consider any vessel heading to Russian Black Sea ports as potential carriers of military cargo and thus legitimate targets.

Reports also state that Russia has deployed sea mines, adding another dimension to the already contested domain. This has led to an increase in activity in the Black Sea domain, which has seen shipping holding off the entrance to the Danube due to Russian targeting of Ukrainian port facilities.

Shipping agencies and insurance companies are therefore advised to exercise extreme caution amid these developments. For more maritime developments, or to speak to one of our security advisors, contact or call +44 (0) 20 7315 4221.

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