Russian occupation forces have looted the river fleet of the Grain Transshipment company, which was based on the territory of the Pearl of Kherson subdivision, and they are using the fleet’s vessels to transport personnel and weapons across River Dnipro.
Yevhen Ihnatenko, the company’s commercial director and co-founder, announced this in a statement on Facebook, the CFTS portal reports.
According to him, the company purchased the Boatyard No. 5 in Kherson before the full-scale war began. This business was symbolically called the ‘Pearl of Kherson.’ Half of the Grain Transshipment company’s 15-vessel fleet was sent there.
"We were engaging in repair and modernization of vessels and preparing for the opening of the 2022 navigation season. In accordance with our long-term strategy, we planned to create a river transit hub there and connect it with our ‘Pearl of the Dnipro.’ On 24 February, all the plans were destroyed by the war. The fleet remained there with the personnel, people continued to receive salaries during this period, and we also paid all our utility bills to Ukraine-controlled utilities. Today, almost the entire fleet is no longer there, and we have no contact with the facility's employees," Ihnatenko wrote.
According to him, the Russian invaders began taking the fleet at the beginning of August: they stole one barge on 2 August, another one on 3 August, and three on 4 August. These five vessels were immediately used to create a crossing over River Dnipro. six vessels were taken from the fleet on 14 September and one on 20 September.
"Three vessels currently remain there, and their fate is known because we know how the occupiers behave. Therefore, it is only a matter of time. With these 15 vessels, we were able to transport a significant proportion of the total volume of Ukraine's export cargoes through River Dnipro to the ports of Mykolaiv and Greater Odesa… Some tankers were loaded with cargo, so this once again proves that the occupiers are marauders and criminals who grab everything in their path," Ihnatenko wrote.
He added that the looting of the company's fleet by the Russians took place under the leadership of the Kherson seaport’s new head Andrii Kharytonov, who was appointed by the occupation authorities.