Russian cargo ship turned away from Welsh port amid Ukraine invasion
A Russian cargo ship carrying diesel has been turned away from a Welsh port amid the invasion of Ukraine.
The vessel, called the ‘Louie’, was scheduled to dock in Milford Haven today, but has been diverted to Belgium because of confusion about the UK Government’s sanctions on Russia.
The UK Government has ordered ports to block any vessels that are Russian-flagged or are believed to be registered, owned or controlled by any person connected with Russia, in a move designed ratchet up the pressure on the Kremlin after the Putin-regime attacked Ukraine.
The tanker has already changed course twice during its voyage from port of Primorsk, in the Russia, and the latest shipping data shows that it is currently off the south-east coast of England in the North Sea.
On Tuesday, it was diverted to Antwerp, Belgium, due to widespread confusions about sanctions, after being originally scheduled to offload its cargo of diesel at the Puma Energy terminal in Milford Haven today.
It was allowed to go back on course to Milford Haven following consultations, but this morning it was diverted to Belgium once again.
The MP for Preseli Pembrokeshire Stephen Crabb, has written to UK Government transport minister Grant Shapps, requesting immediate action on the extension of sanction legislation.
“The source of the cargo which is being transported on ships has to be included in government sanctions,” he said.
“I want all Russian cargo to be banned from entering Welsh ports.”
Vessels that carry Russian cargo are currently not within the scope of the current restrictions.
The boss of the Welsh port has previously defended allowing entry to another Russian cargo ship despite Russia invading Ukraine.
Mike Ryan, the Harbourmaster of Milford Haven port said he does not have “the power to unilaterally apply sanctions” to vessels making their way there.
The Pluto oil tanker was allowed to sail in to Milford Haven on Saturday. It docked at the Valero refinery and is believed to have unloaded 400,000 barrels of crude oil with an estimated value of £29m. It was scheduled to leave Milford Haven port at 9am this morning.
The ship’s cargo is also from Russia’s oil-loading port of Primorsk. However, it has been sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands, which are situated between Hawaii and the Philippines. The Louie has been flying under the same flag.
After the Pluto was allowed to dock, Milford Haven Port Authority was understood to be seeking clarification on every vessel to determine whether sanctions apply.
Mike Ryan told the South Wales Guardian: “We understand and share the strength of feeling about Russian vessels entering the Milford Haven port, but we don’t have the power to unilaterally apply sanctions to a vessel which is bound here.
He added that the port would not allow entry to any ship he believed is owned, controlled or chartered by anyone connected with Russia.
He said: “Deciding whether that vessel falls within that definition is not simple, but we’re keen to ensure that the sanctions from the UK government are applied here in Milford Haven.”
Mr Ryan said that the UK Government’s Department of Transport would be helping the Milford Haven port to identify vessels they believe should not be allowed to enter the port.