For the last two days, the entry of new tugs into the territory of the port of Chornomorsk has been actively discussed. Odessa tugs even hummed as a sign of solidarity. As we found out, no one was going to interfere with the work of the state port fleet of Chernomorsk, and all the noise was raised by the owners of the company «BLAST» (Black Sea Towing), who did not want to compete in the water area of the port, where they occupy a monopoly position. After all, they have long time ago «squeezed» the state port fleet out of the main work in the port, leaving them only crumbs.
The owners of «BLAST» themselves prefer to remain on the sidelines — bribing the trade unions of Chernomorsk to speak at rallies and paying the director of the Odessa port Myaskovsky his «severance pay». This is how they managed to extinguish the conflict in the Odessa port with state tugs. BLAST attracts state tugs to subcontracting, thus ensuring minimal profitability (to achieve a financial result of 10-11 million hryvnia per year), so that Myaskovsky is not «scolded» from Kiev, and meanwhile themselves consolidate and monopolize tug operations in the port. If the Odessa port fleet pursued an independent policy, it could earn many times more. By the way, 10-11 million hryvnia is a two-week earnings of «BLAST». The port fleet of the port of Chornomorsk «BLAST» is not interesting for them, they use it as a shield.
«BLAST» was formed relatively recently on the basis of the UFS (UkrFlotService) companies, which use tugs under the Moldovan (!) Flag with might and main. This, of course, is a separate question for the Minister of Infrastructure Vladislav Krikliy, how it happened that tugboats under the Moldovan flag operate in our ports, leaving the state port fleet “on the sidelines”.
But back to the UFS. Members of the company have repeatedly appeared in scandals in the so-called «towing business» in the Odessa port. Also, the group of companies created by Marisov “Prime Agency”, “Navigate” “Neitos” also became participants in the consolidation called BLAST. Let us remind you that the whole process took place through the purchase and assignment.
As is always the case with companies with a dubious reputation, the founders «hid» behind two individuals who have no relation to the maritime industry. The most controversial members of this corporation (who actually stand behind BLAST) are longtime corruptionist Yevgeny Chernishenko, who caused ZIM Ukraine to miss more than $ 50 million; and the head of the agency department of Altair (servicing Glencore in the port of Chornomorsk) Yuri Dmitruk. He is also the owner of an offshore company serving BLAST. It is on this «offshore» that the payment for towing services goes, bypassing the payment of VAT and income tax un Ukraine.
In the composition of «BLAST» there is also a representative of the former Security Service of Ukraine — Kovtun Aleksandr Aleksandrovich (the former head of the department of the Security Service of Ukraine in the Odessa region).
According to rumors, «BLAST» is covered even in the central office of the USPA, receiving considerable kickbacks.
And while the tugs of the Odessa port fleet are buzzing in solidarity with the BLAST company, the state tugs are waiting for the fate of ordinary scrap metal.