2023-010-Black Sea and Sea of Azov-Military Combat Operations
This advisory updates and cancels U.S. Maritime Advisory 2023-004
a) U.S. Maritime Advisory 2023-005
b) NATO Shipping Centre - RISK OF COLLATERAL DAMAGE IN THE NORTH WESTERN, WESTERN, AND SOUTHWEST BLACK SEA (https://shipping.nato.int/nsc/operations/news/-2022/risk-of-collateral-damage-in-the-north-western-black-sea-2)
c) NAVAREA III Warnings in Force: https://armada.defensa.gob.es/ihm/Aplicaciones/Navareas/Index_Navareas_xml_en.html
2. Issue: Since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in late February 2022, commercial vessels have reportedly been struck by projectiles and experienced explosions in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov. There have also been reports of moored and drifting naval mines. While some past actions may have targeted specific commercial vessels due to their association with certain countries or their activity, the potential remains for miscalculation or misidentification, resulting in a high risk of damage to commercial vessels in the region.
3. Guidance: Vessels operating in these areas are advised to exercise caution; conduct a risk assessment; review security measures; review current NATO Shipping Centre, NAVAREA III and other coastal broadcast warnings; and incorporate appropriate protective measures into their vessel security plans. Vessels should ensure AIS is transmitting at all times (except when the master believes that continuing to operate AIS might compromise the safety or security of the ship) in keeping with provisions of the International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and monitor VHF Channel 16.
In the event of any incident or suspicious activity, U.S.-flagged commercial vessels should immediately notify the NATO Shipping Centre, the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center and activate the Ship Security Alert System. U.S.-flagged commercial vessels are encouraged to participate in the NATO Shipping Centre’s Mediterranean Voluntary Reporting Scheme. Reporting entails contacting the NATO Shipping Centre when entering or departing the Mediterranean Sea and/or departing a port in the Mediterranean Sea. The preferred reporting method is online using the “Mediterranean Reporting Scheme – Format A” link at https://shipping.nato.int/nsc. Alternatively, the forms can be downloaded, filled in, and submitted by email to the NATO Shipping Centre.
Vessels operating in these areas may encounter GPS interference, AIS spoofing, and/or other communications jamming. Maritime GPS disruptions or anomalies should be reported immediately to the USCG Navigation Center which operates 24-hours a day. Additional guidance for vessels experiencing GPS interference can be found in Maritime Advisory 2023-005 at https://www.maritime.dot.gov/msci-advisories.
In accordance with 33 CFR 101.305, all suspicious activities, breaches of security, and transportation security incident events must be reported to the U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center.
U.S. mariners in this area are advised to consult Department of State Travel Advisories at: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/. All American citizens abroad should inform the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate of their plans to transit the area and/or update their information via the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at: https://step.state.gov/step/.
4. Contact Information:
a) NATO Shipping Centre (NSC): firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 1923-956-574. NSC Advisories and warnings can be found at https://shipping.nato.int/nsc.
b) U.S. Coast Guard Navigation Center: +1-703-313-5900 or https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/contact/gps-problem-report
c) U.S. Coast Guard National Response Center: +1-800-424-8802 or email@example.com.
d) For maritime industry questions about this advisory, contact GMCC@uscg.mil. Supplemental information may also be found on the MARAD Office of Maritime Security website at: https://www.maritime.dot.gov/maritime-security.
5. Cancellation of Prior Advisories: This Advisory cancels U.S. Maritime Advisory 2023-004. This message will automatically expire on February 28, 2024.
For more information about U.S. Maritime Alerts and Advisories, including subscription details, please visit https://www.maritime.dot.gov/msci.