Closure of the Black Sea on February 23, 2020

The Monitoring Group of the Institute of Black Sea Strategic Studies, BlackSeaNews and Maidan of Foreign Affairs reports that various areas of the Black Sea were closed late on February 23, 2020 after NAVTEX spread international maritime warnings about danger to navigation as a result of live-fire exercises and naval trainings in the area as shown on the map: Ukrainian naval forces in yellow, Turkish naval forces in red, Romanian naval forces in purple, Bulgarian naval forces in green, Russian Black Sea fleet in blue-red.

NAVTEX (NAVigational TEleX) is an international automated warning service for delivery of navigational and meteorological warnings as well as urgent maritime safety information (MSI) to ships. NAVTEX is also a major element of the Global Maritime Distress Safety System to secure safety to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) according to SOLAS Convention #74/88. The information is transmitted via narrow-band direct printing on medium-frequencies of 518 kHz (in English only). Other states (except for the US) are able to use 490 kHz to broadcast in local languages. When bad weather conditions near the Suez Canal (which is close to the desserts of Egypt and the Arabian Peninsula) form dust screens and prevent the use of 518 kHz, another duplicate HF at 4209.5 kHz should be used.