Surge in Russian inspections of Finnish cargo ships

The Finnish government has expressed its concern at surprise inspections on Finnish cargo ships that have called at Russian ports in recent weeks. Finland said that the delays had been a problem for shipping companies.

Russia has carried out seven thorough inspections in the past two weeks on Finnish ships at St Petersburg and other ports, without giving a specific reason, a Finnish government minister said on Friday January 12th, adding that such inspections usually occurred for Finnish ships only a few times a year.

“The inspections have been exceptional … It is a challenge for the shipping companies, it makes their operation more difficult,” said Minister of Transport and Communications Anne Berner, noting that “there have been inspections by Russian ports for ships from other countries as well, but in this time range, most of the inspections have been carried out on Finnish ships.”

Berner said that seafaring authorities from Finland and Russia had held discussions, with talks due to continue this week.

Finnish media have suggested that the increase in Russian port inspections could be a response to an inspection by Finland on a Russian cargo ship in November because of an oil leak.