Unions refuse to unload oil cargo

A German-flagged ship carrying Russian oil which had been moored in the UK has moved on after workers made it clear they would not unload the cargo.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 7th March 2022, 8:11 am

Unions have urged the government to close what they believe is a loophole following a ban on Russian vessels docking in the UK – because they say cargo is not covered.

The German-flagged Seacod was moored near the Stanlow Oil Refinery in the North West but moved away yesterday, heading north.

Unite said because the vessel is German flagged it doesn’t fall under the UK’s ban on Russian shipping.

The vessel Seacod

It was not clear if the oil was unloaded before unions became aware it was Russian.

A government spokesman said: “It is mandatory for all ports and harbours to follow legislation banning all ships that are Russian owned, operated, controlled, registered or flagged from entering British ports. The government will support all ports in exercising their responsibilities.

“We’ll continue to monitor the impact of the situation, but the UK has no issue with gas supply, and unlike other countries in Europe, the UK is in no way dependent on Russian gas, with imports making up just 4% of demand.

“Ministers are exploring options to further reduce the already small amount of imports we do get from Russia and we continue to urge Europe to put in place plans to end their dependence in Russian gas.”

Stanlow operators Essar said: “Essar remains deeply concerned by the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine and is fully complying with the statutory framework implemented by the UK government with regard to Russia-related entities.

“Earlier this week, we turned away two cargos of non-Russian origin crude oil which would have been delivered in Russian-flagged tankers.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite contacted Essar, who operate the Stanlow oil refinery, to inform the company that due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Unite workers at the facility will under no circumstances unload any Russian oil regardless of the nationality of the vessel.

“Unite urges the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to close this loophole immediately.”