UPLS 6. March 2021.

PHOTO: Petar Mihajlovic


Respected colleague,

We are pleased to inform you that the crew of the ship Rhenus Constante acquitted in court for violating the state border upon a misdemeanor report by GP Veliko Gradište.
The court found that there was no institution of extraterritoriality in the law and that the border police did not act in accordance with their powers.

When the Misdemeanor Court delivers the verdict, we will publish it on the website and give an interpretation that the articles of the law are violated by the border police and go out of their way.

The alleged violation took place in Rama on December 08.12.2020, XNUMX.

Based on our interpretation of the said violation, the crew was completely acquitted of all charges.

We are transmitting the report of the police officers and our answer in full.


In the marked Request for initiating misdemeanor proceedings from 08.12.2020. Registration number 3-642-00038 / 20 against Miodrag Pančić, there are a number of mistakes made by the police officers who submitted the said request.
It is about ignorance of the field of international navigation law, which will be explained in detail below.
We will start from the description of the event itself, until the moment when the crew members meet with the patrol of the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Serbia.
Rhenus Constanta is a pusher ship sailing under the German flag, with a composition of six pushers. In order to understand the context of the event, it is important to explain the basics of a complex system of navigation of repressed formations. The composition consists of a self-propelled ship (pusher) which
pushes or pushes a set of vessels (pushers), and they are firmly connected to each other in a compact whole by using steel ropes and appropriate deck equipment.
An important fact is that only the pusher has a boarded crew, the pushers do not have a boarded crew, but the pusher crew takes care of them. Detailed data on the movement of the ship Rhenus Constanta and the composition that pushed the subject event can be read from the River Information Service RIS, for the very question of this application, the following brief description is important. "Rhenus Constanta" with the composition in upstream navigation, in accordance with the law on state border control, carried out border control at the river border crossing in the port of Veliko Gradiste, according to the valid procedure.
After the border control, the composition continues upstream navigation on the Danube River, an international waterway in Serbian and Romanian territorial waters in the part of the river from Veliko Gradiste to the mouth of the Nera River, and upstream from the mouth of the Nera River the Danube represents an international waterway through Serbian territorial waters. During the voyage, an unfavorable hydrometeorological situation is created and a stormy wind appears. The speed and strength of the wind prevent further safe navigation and the Commander decides to stop sailing and anchor the formation along the right bank, where the composition will be least exposed to wind gusts, which informs the ship's agent and the Port Authority of Veliko Gradiste, which approves its landing. After anchoring, the crew has to wait for the storm wind to stop and, within the limits of its realistic possibilities, in accordance with the Law on Navigation and Navigation and usual practice, to ensure safe standing according to priorities. The priorities are as follows: human lives, ship, thrusters, cargo. Further development of events in the next few days, after the tearing of the train (cracking of steel ropes) and dismantling of the train, and due to the stronger wind leads to the decision that after all possibilities are exhausted, ie the crew provided the maximum possible thrusts and cargo, and crews to a safe location in order to protect the lives of crew members and avoid damage to the pusher itself. The safest location was the village of Ram and the existing port and ferry crossing. The Commander informs the competent Port Authority of Veliko Gradište about the complete event and the undertaken activities and maintains constant contact with it. In the village of Ram, while performing their work tasks, three crew members come into contact with members of the Border Police, who file the said report against them.
We will start in order to explain the unfoundedness of the said application. The first document is the Convention on the Regime of Navigation on the Danube (Danube Convention "Official Gazette of the FPRY", No. 8/49 and "Official Gazette of the FRY", International Agreements No. 6/98, in its Articles 24 and 26, signed by the Republic of Serbia.
Member of 24.
Ships sailing on the Danube have the right, provided that they are operated according to the rules established by the respective Danube states, to enter ports, to load and unload them, to embark and disembark passengers and to be supplied with fuel, groceries, etc.
Member of 26.
Sanitary and police rules regarding the Danube should be applied without discrimination to the nationality of ships, according to their place of departure and place of destination or for any other reason.
The customs, sanitary and river security services on the Danube are performed by the Danube states, which communicate to the Commission the established regulations so that they can help harmonize customs and sanitary rules and river security rules (Article 8 "e").
Customs, sanitary and police regulations should be of such a nature that they do not interfere with navigation. The first problem noticed is the discrimination of the ship under the German flag.
Ships flying the flag of Serbia, freely stop in Ram, supply and change crews can perform outside border crossings.
Another problem is the use of the term DISCHARGED. A police officer qualifies a stay on the shore of a crew member while performing a work task as a violation of Article 60, paragraph 4 of the Law on Border Control, by disembarking from the German cargo ship Rhenus Constanta outside the border crossing area.
The stated statement is simply not true, the Pančić, Zarić and Tekilerović mentioned in the report, who are staying on the shore at that time, were not DISCHARGED, but in the status of crew members, they are staying on the shore in the performance of their work task. They supply the ship with food and visually observe the situation in which
there are abandoned thrusters.
Inspecting Article 51, paragraph 1 and Article 60, paragraph 3 of the Law on Border Control, it is clear that the members of the crew of Rhenus Constant did not commit the offense they are charged with.

Article 60 Paragraph 3. The ship was in traffic with the coast in accordance with the law on border control. Article 51, paragraph 1, crew members of a ship that has previously performed a border check shall not be subject to border checks. The third problem with this report is the reference to the penal provision from the Law on Border Control from Article 70, paragraph 1, item 22. Which reads: If the master of the vessel performs embarkation or disembarkation of persons or crew members outside the border crossing area, except in case of rescue.
As we have already stated, the mentioned persons did not change their status, but were still members of the crew, and additionally on this basis it is not possible to file charges against Tekilerović who was in the status of deck officer and not ship captain, nor against Zarić who was in position
sailor. Tekilerović and Zarić, in relation to their function within the crew, cannot be brought under the penal provisions from Article 70, paragraph 1, item 22. The penal order applies exclusively to the master of the vessel.
The characteristics of crew members are defined in Article 5 of the Ordinance on the minimum number of crew members that ships and other vessels of the merchant navy must have and is available on the official website of MGSI.

Management Board
Association of Professional Boatmen of Serbia