MOSCOW, August 26. /TASS/. Ukraine’s security service (SBU) has summoned for questioning a representative of V.F. Tanker, a company that owns the Mekhanik Pogodin tanker, which remains blocked in the Ukrainian port of Kherson since August 10.
“On August 23, V.F. Tanker representatives were invited to an office of Ukraine’s security service (SBU) in Kherson under the pretext of discussing legal matters,” V.F. Tanker said in a statement, obtained by TASS on Saturday.
The company said that instead of a discussion, SBU officers gave them “two documents in a foreign language.”
It turned out that the company was summoned for questioning on August 28 and 29 as an eyewitness in a criminal case launched in 2014. The case, known as the “universal case,” was launched against numerous individuals and companies on charges of illegal entry into temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, power abuse and high treason. Ukraine’s database of judicial documents contains more than a hundred of court rulings, already issued as part of the case. Several vessels have been arrested as part of it.
“Therefore, Ukraine’s law enforcement agencies still evade a discussion of legal basis for the ship’s detention. They seek to create unacceptable conditions for negotiations as they explain their actions not by formal reasons but by primitive blackmail, allegedly linked to Russia’s detention of a Ukrainian ship,” V.F. Tanker said.
On August 10, the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) blocked the Russian vessel at the port of Kherson, saying that its owner had been blacklisted by Kiev.
The vessel’s captain said the tanker was shipping a cargo of diesel fuel from Turkmenistan to Ukraine under a freightage contract in the interests of Canada’s Oil Marine Shipping and Chartering, while Unicredit Bank Austria was the cargo manager at the Kherson port.
The company pointed out in an earlier statement that “the port authorities and customs service have been notified that the vessel’s detention was groundless and illegal and could entail liability for damages,” as they were violating the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules Relating to the Arrest of Sea-going Ships.
Ukraine Infrastructure Minister Vladimir Omelyan said on August 17 that Ukraine may confiscate and sell the tanker. The so-called first deputy Ukrainian president’s envoy to Crimea, Izet Gdanov, said on August 18 that the Ukrainian authorities will keep the Mekhanik Pogodin vessel in Kherson for three years.
Article Sourced via TASS