Dutch dock workers refuse ship with Russian diesel cargo

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Dutch dock workers on Saturday refused to unload a tanker with a consignment of Russian diesel in Am-sterdam, a day after a similar action kept the ship from entering Europe’s largest port.

The Sunny Liger, a 42,000-tonne tanker was currently lying at anchor off Amsterdam, while port companies were mulling her entry into the Dutch capital, a day after dock workers in Rotterdam also refused to handle her cargo.

“Late last night we requested all parties in the port of Amsterdam not to let the ship dock and not to (handle) it,” the FNV trade union’s harbour worker branch chairwoman Asmae Hajjari said.

“The ship will not enter the Amsterdam port,” she added in a tweet. Sailing from Primorsk near St Petersburg a week ago, the Marshall Islands-flagged tanker’s final destination was Amsterdam, according to the maritime website MarineTraffic.com. “At the moment the ship lies at anchor in the North Sea. So far it has not applied for permission to enter the harbour,” Port of Amsterdam spokeswoman Marcella Wesseling said.

“In principle we cannot refuse her entry because she doesn’t fall under the sanctions regime (against Russia),” Wesseling said.

A company responsible for towing the ship into port however said it would decline if asked, saying it could lead to an unsafe situation if protesters want to block the ship from entering, the Dutch commercial news station RTL Nieuws reported.

Wesseling said the ship could be allowed into port once it has made a formal request, but “only if it was safe for it to do so.” “If there is any doubt about this, we can decide otherwise.” “The port’s nautical service providers and terminal have indicated that they have concerns about the safety surrounding the handling of this ship,” Wesseling stressed.

The European Union imposed a hard package of sanctions on Moscow since Russia invasion of the Ukraine on February 24. However, oil and gas are not part of the punitive measures.

Dutch foreign minister Wopke Hoekstra said le-gally the Sunny Liger could not be refused entry into a Dutch port, but that he supported the dock workers’ actions.—AFP