An Odesa court has found legal the actions taken by military prosecutors and Security Service investigators in searching the Russian tanker Neyma at the Izmail port in late July.
“Having heard a relevant motion, the court put the said vessel along with the documents seized during the search under arrest,” news agency Interfax quotes Ukrainian Chief Military Prosecutor Anatoliy Matios.
According to him, the information about the illegality of investigative activities carried out onboard by Ukrainian law enforcement bodies without the permission of a Russian consul is ‘inaccurate’.
The Ukrainian side“s activities were fully compliant with the law, the chief military prosecutor said referring to the international agreements ratified by both Russia and Ukraine. In accordance with the documents, no consent or permission from a foreign state is needed to start investigative procedure on maritime or river vessels.
On July 24, the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) and the Military Prosecutor’s Office detained the Russian tanker NEYMA entered the port of Izmail under the Russian flag. In November 2018, it blocked the Ukrainian Navy’s boats in the Kerch Strait.
According to the SBU, Russian coast guards’ resorting to weapons when blocking the movement of Ukrainian vessels during the passage of the Kerch-Yenikale Canal was contrary to the norms of international maritime law.
The tanker is recognized as material evidence in the case. Interestingly, now it has the name NIKA SPIRIT instead of NEYMA. The owners might have changed its name to conceal its involvement in the act of aggression.
As there were no violations of maritime law and the laws of Ukraine by the ship’s crew fter the detention, all the sailors were released. Then they returned to Russia’s Krasnodar.