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UK maritime sector’s reaction to invasion

Maritime sector reaction to Russian invasion of Ukraine


The UK has shut its borders to Russian ships as part of the ‘unprecedented’ package of sanctions it is developing with international allies.

The Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps issued a statement to all UK ports on Monday February 28 saying the Department for Transport deemed it ‘inappropriate’ for Russian vessels to continue to enter UK ports.

UK ports are asked not to provide access to any ship which they have reason to believe is:

  • Owned, controlled, chartered or operated by any person connected with Russia
  • Owned, controlled, chartered or operated by Designated Persons
  • Flying the Russian Flag
  • Registered in Russia

The Department for Transport said it would let ports know when it identified ships bound for UK ports that fall within that scope.

Further sanctions were being developed and would be communicated soon, the communique said.

Maritime UK members have issued the following statements following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

UK Chamber of Shipping:

“It is right the UK government considers a range of hard-hitting sanctions following the unprovoked attack on Ukraine. The banning of ships with Russian interests from UK ports will put further pressure on the Russian President’s military objectives. It will however be complex and require new legislation. We will work closely with HMG to ensure that its measures have the best effect.”

Nautilus International:

Nautilus International is urging its members to get in contact with any concerns following the outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine.

The Union’s officials across its branches in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and in Switzerland are working with governments and international partners to ensure members’ safety.

Crew changes are expected to be disrupted following the closure of all commercial flights to Ukraine on Thursday. Supply of ships’ crew could also be hit as seafarers are called up to defend their country.

The Union has been made aware that payment problems may arise for some crew. A news report from Lloyd’s List suggested that the fear of sanctions might stop some employers paying salaries into Russian or Ukrainian bank accounts.

Lloyd’s Joint War Committee last week designated Ukranian and Russian waters in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov as listed areas.

An emergency meeting of The Warlike Operations Area Committee (WOAC) was held in London on Thursday.

Members can access assistance 24 hours a day 7 days per week via the Nautilus24/7 emergency helpline:

British Ports Association:

“The ‘open port duty’ and contractual arrangements could make this difficult in some circumstances but we understand the UK Government is working on legislation to underpin this which will be published in the coming days.

“We expect this to only impact a relatively small number of vessels.”

UK Major Ports Group:

“UK ports are working closely with the Government as part of the coordinated sanctions response to the Russian invasion of the Ukraine.

“We must all play our part to stand against an unprovoked, premeditated attack against a sovereign democratic state. As ever, our ports remain open to all in safety and welfare critical situations.”

Warlike Operations Area Committee agrees protections for seafarers

The article is shared by courtesy of UK Maritime – the collective voice for the UK’s maritime industries.

For more news about the Russia – Ukraine conflict, click here.


Narjiss Ghajour

Editor-in-Chief of Maritime Professionals

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