A Russian cargo ship has turned away from the Welsh port during the invasion of Ukraine

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Milford Haven Docks © Copyright Jeff Gogarty and Licensed for Reuse (CC 2.0)

A Russian cargo ship carrying diesel was turned away from a Welsh port during the invasion of Ukraine.

The ship, named ‘Louie’, was due to call at Milford Haven today but was diverted to Belgium amid confusion over the UK government’s sanctions on Russia.

The UK government has ordered ports to block all ships flying the Russian flag or believed to be registered, owned or controlled by anyone with ties to Russia in a bid to increase pressure on the Kremlin after the Putin regime attacked Ukraine.

The tanker has already changed course twice during its voyage from the port of Primorsk in Russia and the latest shipping data shows it is currently off the south-east coast of England in the North Sea.

On Tuesday, amid widespread confusion over sanctions, it was diverted to Antwerp, Belgium, having originally been scheduled to offload its diesel cargo at Puma Energy’s Milford Haven terminal today.

After consultation she was allowed to resume course for Milford Haven but was again diverted to Belgium this morning.

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb has written to UK Government Transport Secretary Grant Shapps asking for immediate action to extend sanctions legislation.

“The source of the cargo carried on ships must be included in government sanctions,” he said.

“I want all Russian cargo to be prevented from entering Welsh ports.”

Vessels carrying Russian cargo are currently outside the scope of the applicable restrictions.

‘defended’

The Welsh port chief has previously defended another Russian cargo ship allowing entry despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Mike Ryan, the Port of Milford Haven’s harbor master, said he did not have “the power to unilaterally impose sanctions” on ships going there.

The Pluto oil tanker was allowed to dock in Milford Haven on Saturday. It docked at the Valero Refinery and is believed to have discharged 400,000 barrels of crude oil valued at an estimated £29 million. It was due to leave Milford Haven harbor at 9am this morning.

The shipload also comes from the Russian oil loading port of Primorsk. However, it sails under the flag of the Marshall Islands, which lie between Hawaii and the Philippines. The Louie has flown under the same flag.

After Pluto was allowed to dock, Milford Haven Port Authority is said to have sought clarification from each ship to determine if sanctions applied.

Mike Ryan told the South Wales Guardian: “We understand and share the strong feeling that Russian ships are entering the port of Milford Haven, but we do not have the power to unilaterally impose sanctions on a ship that moors here.

He added that the port would not allow entry to any ship he believed was owned, controlled or chartered by anyone linked to Russia.

He said: “It is not easy to decide whether this ship falls within that definition, but we are keen to ensure that the UK Government’s sanctions are applied here in Milford Haven.”

Mr Ryan said the UK Government’s Department for Transport will help the Port of Milford Haven identify ships which it believes should not enter the port.


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