Handysize loading in Crimea points to expanding Russian grain operations
This is the first time the handysize bulker has loaded grain on the eastern side of Crimea, having almost exclusively traded out of Sevastopol
The arrival of a larger Russia-flagged bulk carrier in the Crimean port of Feodosia indicates that Moscow is expanding its grain operations in the illegally occupied territories of Ukraine as the new harvest season approaches
A BULK carrier suspected of transporting stolen Ukrainian cargo is loading grain at the occupied Crimean port of Feodosia, suggesting an expansion of Russia’s export operations of agricultural products from territories illegally gained through its war on Ukraine.
The 28,000 dwt handysize bulk carrier Matros Pozynich (IMO: 9573816) can be seen at Feodosia on June 18 being loaded with grain, according to satellite imagery provided by Planet Labs PBC.
Matros Pozynich is one of three vessels identified by the US State Department in May 2022 for participating in the plundering of Ukrainian cargoes.
The similar Matros Koshka (IMO: 9550137) and Mikhail Nenashev (IMO: 9515539) were also flagged. All three ships are owned by OOO Trans Leasing Invest and associated with Crane Marine Contractor, according to ownership databases.
Several investigations have shown grain being transported via truck from captured territories of the Kherson, Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia regions to occupied Crimean ports for shipment to foreign markets.
“This is the first time a CMC ship is loading at Feodosia,” said Yörük Işık, a geopolitical analyst from the Istanbul-based consultancy Bosphorus Observer.
Ships have been tracked at Feodosia’s grain terminal in the past, but these are smaller vessels of around 13,000 dwt capacity as well as sanctioned ships owned by the Syrian government including the 13,000 dwt general cargoships Souria (IMO: 9274331) and Laodicea (IMO: 9274343) and the 19,000 dwt bulk carrier Finikia (IMO: 9385233).
“The arrival of Matros Pozynich proves that CMC ships are now able to use multiple ports,” said Işık.
“As we have predicted, now we are at the beginning of the new harvest season, the Russian smuggling operation of Ukrainian grain is expanding and in particular the Russia-flagged vessel operation is getting bigger.”
The Russian government is actively working to improve infrastructure and production within the illegally occupied territories of Ukraine to boost grain exports.
The grain harvest in the “new regions of Russia” will reach 3m tonnes this year, Russia’s minister of agriculture Dmitry Patrushev told reporters during the St Petersburg International Economic Forum in the past week.
The “new” territories that Russia illegally occupies include Donestk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
Matros Pozynich remains at the port of Feodosia as of June 22, the latest date that satellite imagery is available.
The ship is not transmitting an Automatic Identification System signal, with the last message received on May 27 while it was transiting the Black Sea.
There are many reasons for a vessel to not transmit an Automatic Identification System position, some of which are legitimate.
The deliberate disabling of AIS without legitimate cause is considered a deceptive shipping practice.
Grain is loaded at the Avlita terminal in Sevastopol and is likely redistributed to countries such as Lebanon after delivery.