After UK, European Ports Think Of Prohibiting Russian Vessels

EU countries are contemplating a ban on Russia’s ships entering the bloc’s ports to establish more stringent sea restrictions following a pause on air traffic, European officials reportedly say, a measure that would negatively impact Russian commercial shipments. On Monday, Britain decided to deny entry to British ports to all vessels that are Russian-owned, operated, registered, controlled, chartered, or flagged.

Canada followed on Tuesday, saying it would be shutting its ports to Russian-owned vessels later this week, a day after it prohibited Russian crude oil imports. The Marshall Islands-flagged NS Champion operated by Russian shipping giant Sovcomflot, turned away from the UK on Monday after the country’s ban was declared. It reportedly headed for Denmark loaded with an oil cargo onboard with expected arrival on 2 March, ship tracking data on Eikon reflected.

With more stringent global energy supplies, cutting off shipments introduces a challenge for Europe, which joined the US and allies in imposing sanctions on Russia for invading Ukraine, which Moscow refers to as a “special operation”. Denmark`s foreign ministry officials said that on Sunday EU foreign ministers have decided to close European ports to Russia’s ships.

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A French government official informed Reuters how the EU’s active engagement on more sanctions and blocking of the ports to Russian vessels was a possibility but added that any additional measure should impact Russia proportionally way more than their respective economies.

A government official from Greece has mentioned that Athens is going to implement decisions the European Commission takes on the issue.

A European Commission spokesperson said there was not any such ban at the moment. The European Parliament will vote on a non-binding resolution on Tuesday calling for EU ports to be restricted for access to Russian ships and ships sailing from and to Russia with justified and necessary humanitarian reasons being an exception. However, this could result in political pressure for the bloc.

The Spanish transport ministry on Sunday reported that the country`s airspace was closed to Russian-operated aircraft and that it had proposed some measures in the shipping sector.

Madrid said that it had been considering denying Russian vessels access to Spanish ports, limiting supplying them with fuel or other kinds of supplies, or blocking Russian or Russian enterprise-owned vessels from accessing the Spanish waters.

Jens Meier, the chief of Hamburg`s Port Authority, informed an online news conference on Monday that even though there were no rules yet regarding dealing with Russia’s vessels at the moment, he expected an announcement shortly regarding what would no longer be permitted.

Elegny, an Engie-owned gas shipment and storage company operating the Montoir terminal where Yamal`s Christophe De Margerie had been headed, did not respond right away when asked if it received instructions from local or any government authorities regarding the handling of the cargo.

The American treasury restricted Sovcomflot, one of Russia’s entities last week from raising capital in the US markets. Some shipping sources have to say that such a move will complicate financial transactions for the Moscow-listed enterprise. On Tuesday, Sovcomflot refused to comment.


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