We have received the below message from Axis Maritime, who act as Correspondents in some Russian ports.
In view of the recent developments between Russia and Turkey, let us send you a brief update on the present situation at our ports.
The Russian sanctions against Turkey include economic restrictive measures for an uncertain period, affecting economic relations between our countries (and it seems from our media that this is subject to further amendments). These measures include import ban on certain Turkish-origin products (except the goods for personal use imported by individual travellers within the limits allowed by the legislation of the Eurasian Economic Union), prohibition for Turkish companies to perform certain work and provide services inside Russia, compulsory visa required for Turkish citizens as of January 1, 2016 and other limitations.
On the 1st of December 2015 the Russian government published a list of goods with Turkish origin prohibited from import to Russia (order No.1296 dated 30 November 2015).
This list is only related to the agriculture products with the following HS codes:
0207 14 (parts of carcases and offal of frozen chickens)
0207 27 (parts of carcases and offal of frozen turkeys)
(full text in Russian is available at the official web site of our government
Although the import ban is valid starting from the 1st of January 2016, as per our information the discharging of all containers with goods originated from Turkey has already been prohibited by the Novorossiysk customs. The customs implemented a new complicated procedure that cannot be completed by the forwarders, port and container lines in line with the customs requirements and in due time before vessel's arrival.
At present time the container shipping industry seems to be the most affected one.
The importers started cancelling their bookings. Containers already loaded onboard the vessels will be rerouted to the other ports or delivered back to Turkey, until the new initiative from customs has been negotiated and resolved.
We were advised about a delay of the Turkish ferry caused by discharging within 9 days, as all the cargoes were passing full customs control.
Yesterday another ferry from Turkey was berthed at Novorossiysk, but then the customs announced a list of Bills of Lading prohibited for discharging covering the whole cargo onboard. As a result the vessel had to leave berth without discharging.
Last week it was cancelled a call at Novorossisk port of the vessel operated by ARKAS container line. Two Ro-Ro vessels were reportedly not allowed to call this port as well. However, it seems the situation has stabilized more or less and there are no similar incidents now (at least we are not aware of such issues).
At the very moment there are no restrictions or any actions against vessels under Turkish management, flag and their crewmen.
The seafarers can safely go ashore, there are no restrictions from the authorities.
It well may be the case that the Turkish vessels/crew will be attended by the immigrations and customs more precisely (with thorough check) than it used to be in the recent past.
We hope the above information will be useful for you and your partners.
Hopefully this advice will prove useful, and we would suggest our Assured contact their agents within Russia to get up to date information before loading cargo destined for a Russian port.