Drifting mines have been detected and deactivated in the Western Black Sea by coastal nation’s authorities (ref. NAVAREA III-126/22 and NAVAREA III 017/22). The latest statement of regional authorities, confirming another sighting of a mine, shows the threat of drifting mines in the Southwest part of the Black Sea still exists. An additional stray mine was detected and neutralized by coastal nation’s authorities on the 28th of February 2023 in the Southwestern part of the Black Sea. National authorities stated that the searches for mine-like objects are ongoing. The threat of more drifting mines cannot be ruled out. Any sightings of mine-like objects should be reported to coastal authorities and shipping should remain well clear of the hazard. NSC strongly advises masters to take all precautions to mitigate the threat including avoiding floating objects, keep the forward area of the ship clear of crew, and using effective look-outs. Merchant vessels are also reminded to monitor the local authorities’ broadcasts for the latest Navigational Warnings.
National Coastal Warnings have been broadcast recommending the safe routes for shipping in the Western Black Sea (ref. Costal Warning NW 18/29.03.2022. BLACK SEA. ROMANIA). Shipping is advised to use these routes and stay in contact with relevant authorities.

In addition, NSC advises appropriate countermeasures as described in “ATP-02.1 – Naval Cooperation and Guidance for Shipping (NCAGS) Manual”, which can be downloaded from the NATO Shipping Centre homepage (www.shipping.nato.int). An extract of the manual that describes countermeasures for a mine threat is included below.

The threat of collateral damage or direct hits on civilian shipping in the War Risk Area (NAVAREA III 0124/2022) of the Black Sea area remains HIGH. The threat of GPS jamming, AIS spoofing, communications jamming, electronic interference and cyber-attacks in the area are also considered HIGH. Harassment and diversion of shipping in the area cannot be excluded.

The latest list of NAVWARNS in force are accessible in detail on the link: NAVAREA III warnings in force (defensa.gob.es). NAVAREA COORDINATOR III Contact Information: Address: Director del Instituto Hidrográfico de la Marina Instituto Hidrográfico de la Marina Plaza San Severiano, 3 11007 Cádiz Spain Contact details: NAVAREA III Coordinator: Head of Navigational Section Tel: / +34 956 59 93 99 / +34 956 59 94 09 avisosihm@fn.mde.es; ihmesp@fn.mde.es.

Vessels are recommended to ensure automatic identification system (AIS) is always transmitting (except when the master believes AIS operation might compromise the safety or security of the ship), consistent with provisions of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), and monitor VHF Channel 16. It is recommended to continue to transmit your AIS signal throughout the Black Sea, containing basic identification information as a minimum. Please report any incident to NSC by email to: info@shipping.nato.int.

NOTE: Above mentioned information is based on Word-wide Navigational Warning Service (WWNWS) broadcastings.

REMEMBER, SAFETY FIRST! Always use proper and approved navigational aids and instruments.