On 8 April 2022 the Council of the European Union adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/578, as well as the corresponding regulatory action to ensure uniform application in all Member States (Recital 10), Council Regulation (EU) 2022/576. Council Decision (CFSP) 2022/578 introduced, among other measures, prohibitions on access to EU ports of vessels registered under the flag of Russia and recently reflagged (24 February 2022) vessels formerly registered under the flag of Russia (Article 1(18); inserting Article 4ha into Council Decision 2014/512/CFSP). Article 1(11) of Council Regulation (EU) 2022/576 therefore inserts Article 3ea into Council Regulation (EU) No 833/2014, whereby:
1. It shall be prohibited to provide access after 16 April 2022 to ports in the territory of the Union to any vessel registered under the flag of Russia.
2. Paragraph 1 shall apply to vessels that have changed their Russian flag or their registration, to the flag or register of any other State after 24 February 2022.
3. For the purposes of this Article, a vessel means:
(a) a ship falling within the scope of the relevant international conventions;
(b) a yacht, of 15 metres in length or more, which does not carry cargo and carrying no more than 12 passengers; or
(c) recreational craft or personal watercraft as defined in Directive 2013/53/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council.
4. Paragraph 1 shall not apply in the case of a vessel in need of assistance seeking a place of refuge, of an emergency port call for reasons of maritime safety, or for saving life at sea.
5. By way of derogation from paragraph 1, the competent authorities may authorise a vessel to access a port, under such conditions as they deem appropriate, after having determined that the access is necessary for:
(a) the purchase, import or transport into the Union of natural gas and oil, including refined petroleum products, titanium, aluminium, copper, nickel, palladium and iron ore, as well as certain chemical and iron products as listed in Annex XXIV;
(b) the purchase, import or transport of pharmaceutical, medical, agricultural and food products, including wheat and fertilisers whose import, purchase and transport is allowed under this Regulation;
(c) humanitarian purposes;
(d) transport of nuclear fuel and other goods strictly necessary for the functioning of civil nuclear capabilities; or
(e) the purchase, import or transport into the Union of coal and other solid fossil fuels, as listed in Annex XXII until 10 August 2022.
6. The Member State concerned shall inform the other Member States and the Commission of any authorisation granted under paragraph 5 within two weeks of the authorisationArticle 1(11) of Council Regulation (EU) 2022/576 (footnotes omitted)
For more information see the Council of the EU press release and Official Journal of the European Union, L 111, 8 April 2022.