A tanker loaded with Russian gas has been diverted after Kent dockers refused to unload it.
The Boris Vilkitskiy was on its way to the Isle of Grain with a consignment of liquefied natural gas (LNG) for Centrica, the owner of British Gas. Due to an apparent loophole on Russian-associated ships imposed by the Department for Transport, it can still legally unload at a UK port.
Dockers vowed not to unload the tanker that was due to arrive at a Thames Estuary port in the early hours of Friday morning and have managed to get their way.
Although the ship was diverted to France, it does not help the sanctions against Russia if the cargo was unloaded there. There needs to be a unified effort by all NATO countries to restrict the supply of Russian gas.
After dockers represented by the trade union Unison warned they would rebel against any instruction to help bring the gas onshore, the ship will no longer dock at the Kent facility.
The Union has now called for closure of the loophole that allows Russian cargo into UK on ships registered elsewhere. Tankers carrying oil and gas are still arriving at or heading towards ports around the country, including Foyle Port in Derry and Liverpool.
The EU needs to act quickly to reduce its reliance on Russian natural gas
Matt Lay from Unison said “while it looks like the union’s intervention has been successful in seeing these ships turned away, a more fundamental problem remains. Ships carrying Russian oil and gas are still able to dock at British ports because the DfT’s ban does not cover the origin of vessels’ cargo, despite the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, saying earlier this week that the measure extended to all ships with any Russian connection whatsoever”.
“The government must act immediately to close this loophole and stop Russian goods continuing to arrive in the UK under the cover of another country.”