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Welsh port boss defends allowing entry to Russian cargo ship despite Ukraine invasion

02 Mar 2022 2 minutes Read
Milford Haven Docks © Copyright Jeff Gogarty and licensed for reuse (CC 2.0)

The boss of a Welsh port has defended allowing entry to a Russian cargo ship despite Russia invading Ukraine.

Mike Ryan, the Harbourmaster of Milford Haven port in Pembrokeshire said he does not have “the power to unilaterally apply sanctions” to vessels making their way there.

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.

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 from Russia’s oil-loading port of Primorsk. However, it has been sailing under the flag of the Marshall Islands.

Milford Haven Port Authority is understood to be seeking clarification on every vessel to determine whether sanctions apply.

Another vessel, Louie, sailing from the same Russian port, is due to enter Milford Haven port on Friday. This vessel will be sailing under the Marshall Islands’ flag.

‘Strength of feeling’

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 will be helping the Milford Haven port to identify vessels they believe should not be allowed to enter.


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Kerry Davies
Kerry Davies
2 months ago

Has the Ariel unloaded there yet? That one went halfway across the Atlantic, turned around and came back to Milford. It appears to be on it’s way to Amsterdam now.

Gareth Plas
Gareth Plas
2 months ago

The authorities knew that this load was coming, and where from. It should not have been allowed to offload the cargo. Having said that, how about seizing the £29 million “assets “ until such time that Russia leaves Ukraine and has made reparations to the people and their property. I do hope that this oil has not: will not be paid for.

hdavies15
hdavies15
2 months ago
Reply to  Gareth Plas

There’s your answer. Take the oil but don’t pay for it until Putin has withdrawn and agreed reparations with the Ukraine government. He will be gagging for foreign currency soon if not already.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
2 months ago

It is likely that Customs and Excise could, if they so wished, detain the ship for questioning…

Erisian
Erisian
2 months ago

Sailing under flags of convenience, with ultimate beneficial ownership of both the vessel and the cargo concealed in off-shore tax havens incorporated within a panoply of shell-companies to hide who owns what and who reaps the rewards.
What can we do?
We can take a good close look at the city of London and the criminals who assist in these deceptions for a start…

Quornby
Quornby
2 months ago

The eejit should be an ex port manager.

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