Russian power still reaching UK ports, shipping data shows


LONDON, March 4 (Reuters) – Energy supplies from Russia were still being delivered to Britain on Friday after dockworkers at a terminal in southeast England tried to block a shipment in solidarity with Ukraine, according to vessel tracking data.

Supplies of Russian liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Europe have been disrupted this week by uncertainty over whether ships can unload cargo at European ports after sanctions were imposed on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine and a ban by UK ports on Russian-linked vessels. Read more

Britain’s Unison union has complained that its members working at the Isle of Grain LNG terminal are unwilling to accept Russian gas and called for tougher government action.

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On Tuesday, Britain banned from its ports all vessels owned, operated, controlled, chartered, registered or flying the Russian flag. However, he later said Russia could still send oil and gas to Britain because the sanction was focused on the ship, not its cargo.

Refinitiv Eikon shipping data on Friday showed the tanker Seacod docked in Liverpool after picking up a cargo of oil from Primorsk in Russia while the Pearl LNG was moored at the Dragon LNG terminal in Wales.

Analysis by data intelligence firm ICIS showed that the Pearl LNG picked up a shipment of Russian LNG via a ship-to-ship transfer with the Christophe de Margerie vessel operated by Yamal LNG in France in mid-February.

On Friday, Pearl LNG’s Greek manager TMS Cardiff Gas and majority shareholder Yamal LNG did not respond to requests for comment.

A spokesman for Seacod’s director, German Tanker Shipping, confirmed that the ship was unloading Russian cargo at the Tranmere oil terminal in Liverpool.

“Due to our heavy reliance in Europe on Russian energy exports, these exports are excluded from sanctions against Russia,” the spokesperson said.

Two other ships, the Fedor Likte and the Boris Vilkitsky, now report their status awaiting new orders from their owners. The former had previously reported for the Isle of Grain. The Boris Vilkitsky had not, but Unison said its workers expected the ship to dock there.

Unison Energy chief Matt Lay said the workers’ intervention appeared to have succeeded in diverting the ships, but UK maritime sanctions would be a ‘hollow gesture’ if the UK did not ban not also the Russian cargoes.

“The government must act immediately to stop Russian goods continuing to arrive in the UK disguised as another country,” he said in a statement.

Separately, on Friday, the Unite union said it informed Essar, which operates the Stanlow oil refinery in north-west England, that its members will “under no circumstances” unload Russian oil, regardless of the nationality of the ship delivering it.

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Reporting by Kate Holton and Jonathan Saul; additional reporting by James Davey; Editing by David Goodman and David Gregorio

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