On January 23, 2022, the tug “British” IMO number 8420945 under the flag of Moldova was used in the rescue operation of the burning tanker “Almuntazah” IMO 8862521 under the flag of Comoros in the Black Sea. The tanker had on board more than 700 tons of fuel oil, and was used as a smuggling vessel-supplier of fuels and lubricants, the so-called “floating store” for ships carrying out illegal bunkering in the Kerch Strait. The tanker caught fire on Sunday night while the “Almuntazah” was 5 kilometers from Cape Iron Horn. A team of 7 people managed to partially seal the ship, then they were evacuated, but later some of them returned to the tanker.

“Almuntazah” is actually owned by the Ukrainian-sanctioned “Yuvas” group of companies belonging to the family of Anatoly Naroditsky, a Kerch-origin collaborator. At the same time, the tanker is managed through the English company “Arida” and a “convenient” Czech company, which are controlled by Anatoly’s son, Yaroslav Naroditsky. The head of the family, Anatoly Naroditsky, is known as the “ferryman of the occupiers”, he not only actively contributed to the Russia’s seizure of Crimea at the initial stage, but he also “became famous” for assisting the Russian invaders in the operation of blocking the passage of Ukrainian naval boats through the Kerch Strait on November 25, 2018.

Then, with the assistance of Narodnitsky, the “Neyma” tanker was withdrawn from the Kerch shipyard and blocked the passage under the “Kerch Bridge”. Now this tanker is called “Nika Spirit”, and after being detained by the Military Prosecutor’s Office of the Southern region of Ukraine, it was transferred to the management of the Ukraine’s Asset Recovery and Management Agency. Also, the “Yuvas” group of companies was noted for its participation in high-profile events with the “Smolny” and “Goeast” tankers.

Thus, an obvious question arises for the Moldova’s maritime administration. While the tug under their flag helped rescue the ship in distress, its commercial activities off the coast of occupied Crimea continue to raise a number of questions. It is also worth considering that the real owners of the “British”, acquired from British owners in 2018, are hidden behind “Geniuses Navigation Inc.”, a company registered in the Marshall Islands.