The government of the UK has strictly asked port operators under its jurisdiction to not permit Russian ships to dock as sanctions escalate in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The order covers commercial vessels, including oil tankers and even private yachts that are owned by Russia’s billionaire oligarchs.
Specifically, the memo refers to ships that are registered in Russia, the ones that fly the Russian flag, or are controlled, chartered, owned, or operated by anyone linked to Russia. Before such a request was made, a spokesperson of the Orkney Islands Council mentioned to the Guardian that the port there could be compelled to accept Russian vessels until the UK government dictates otherwise.
A ban on Russia’s vessels would be adding to the UK’s and the EU’s prohibition on Russia’s planes and airlines from operating in its airspace. Russia’s vessels loaded with cargoes of energy pay visits regularly to UK’s ports.
The SCF Le Perouse, operated by a leading Russian shipping entity Sovcomflot and flying the flag of Marshall Islands, visited the Isle of Grain – southern UK terminal – in January with a cargo packed with US LNG before it sailed back to the Atlantic. The data was shown on Eikon.
It was not quite clear as to what might happen with the Marshall Islands-flagged NS Champion, another Sovcomflot-operated vessel scheduled to reach the UK with a cargo of oil on Tuesday. Ship tracking data reflects that the vessel had been signaling the UK as the destination. Its last observed position was off the Scotland coast on Monday.
Sovcomflot was one of the Russian entities to be listed last week by the US Treasury as being restricted from engaging in any kinds of new equity or debt-raising activities with US people or via the American financial system, that has a maturity of over two weeks that shipping sources opine might unnecessarily complicate transactions for the Moscow-listed entity.
Sovcomflot has a UK subsidiary. When reached out to on Monday, the company refused to comment.