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