Irish union request to block Russian tanker is refused by government

There was another occurrence at the weekend of the increasing tendency in the West for workers and consumers to be more aggressive than governments when it comes to sanctioning anything connected to Russia.

The government of Ireland turned down a request by an Irish union to ban from entering port a tanker carrying Russian refined oil. Tankship STI Clapham (IMO 9696577) took on a cargo at Lukoil’s Vykotsk terminal in the Baltic at the beginning of March and headed for England, according to AIS tracking data. On March 9th it moored at a terminal on the Thames. It departed on March 10th and headed south then west towards Ireland.

On Friday March 11th the STI Clapham rounded the southern coast of England. At this point Ireland’s Services Industrial Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU) called on the Irish government to prevent the vessel from calling at Dublin Port, its next scheduled destination.

SIPTU Divisional Organizer Karan O’Loughlin said on Friday that “given the unfolding horror in Ukraine as the invasion by Russia aggressively proceeds, our members and other workers who are expected to unload this vessel are angry and upset at being put in this position,” she said, adding that “while a range of different sanctions are being rolled out across the EU against Russia, the government needs to speak up on humanitarian grounds and turn this vessel around. It is unconscionable to accept this cargo in the present circumstances.”

Dublin Port is state-owned. O’Loughlin therefore asked for the government to exercise its authority to block the tanker’s entrance.

However, the Irish government said that it would not do so, stating that it would be following the current EU line on sanctions, which still permits the import of Russian oil and gas, and allows port calls from Russian-linked vessels.

Ireland’s Transport Minister Eamon Ryan said on Saturday March 12th that “we fully understand the concerns of the SIPTU members with regard to the cargo of oil due to arrive to Dublin Port over the weekend. However, the strongest pressure we can put on the Russian government now is to continue to ensure that we maintain a resolute, united European response on already agreed sanctions.”

AIS data shows that STI Clapham berthed at a petroleum terminal in Dublin on Sunday evening.

SIPTU had noted that Ireland’s Minister for Defence Simon Coveney had insisted that Ireland, on a humanitarian level, was not neutral in the Russia-Ukraine war. O’Coughlin therefore asked how the Irish Government could accept the cargo in all good conscience. She noted that Dublin Port was wholly-owned by the State and so the Government had the authority to refuse entry for the vessel.

As of morning if March 14th the vessel remained moored in Dublin.

2014-built, Marshall Islands-flagged, 24,230 gt STI Clapham is owned by STI Clapham Shipping Co Ltd care of Scorpio Commercial management of Monaco-Ville, Monaco. ISM manager is Zenith Gemi Isletmeciligi AS of Istanbul, Turkey.