By Archie Hunter, Rachel Graham and Jack Wittels
Mar 5, 2022 (Bloomberg) –A British labor union instructed workers at the Stanlow oil refinery not to handle a cargo from Russia, even though the German-flagged tanker has been granted permission to berth.
“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 General Secretary Sharon Graham said in a statement Friday. Unite is urging Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to “close this loophole immediately,” she said.
The U.K. government told all ports to block access to Russian ships after the invasion of Ukraine. However, Russian oil has yet to be sanctioned by the U.K. and other European countries.
The vessel was approved to berth at Tranmere oil terminal by the port authority as it set sail on Feb. 22, before the invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent imposition of sanctions, refinery operator Essar Oil said in a statement on its website.
The Seacod, a tanker chartered by Russian trader Litasco, is moored at Tranmere after loading about 33,000 tons of diesel-type fuel at the Baltic Sea port of Primorsk, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg and port agent reports.
Litasco didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment outside of normal office hours.
Russia is the U.K.’s biggest supplier of diesel-type fuels, accounting for 4.9 million tons or almost a third of total imports in 2019, according to government data.
Essar Oil said it has turned away two cargoes of non-Russian origin crude oil that would have been delivered in Russian-flagged tankers.
“Essar remains deeply concerned by the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine and is fully complying with the statutory framework implemented by the U.K. government with regards to Russia-related entities,” it said in the statement.
–With assistance from Sherry Su.
© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.
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