The Shame of Inaction in a Weary World: #IStandWithUkraine

Sovcomflot is  “Russia’s largest shipping company, and one of the global leaders in the maritime transportation of hydrocarbons, as well as the servicing and support of offshore exploration and oil & gas production.” Wikipedia.

Sovcomflot’s NS Champion, sailing under a Liberian flag, left the port of Birkenhead, 25th February, and is due in at Flotta, Orkney on Tuesday March 1st.

Orkney Islands Council is using the ‘open port’ excuse that it can do nothing.

A statement issued by Councillor Steve Sankey of the Orkney Greens said:

“We have a proud maritime history in Orkney, and we should play our part and issue an immediate ban on all Russian vessels entering our Harbours. This would be a peaceful but very effective act.

“This is a Russian-owned vessel going about its routine business, transporting oil for commercial purposes for its owners, and I can’t condone OIC services of any type assisting this vessel. If sanctions against Russia are to work, they must be immediate and effective. Whilst we may by law have to allow access, there’s no law that says our pilot boats and tugs should be used, and I’m deeply unhappy about our harbour assets helping a Russian ship under current circumstances.

“The war in Ukraine is an appalling act of aggression by an out-of-control dictator, Putin, attacking a democratically-elected free state. Ordinary civilians are losing their lives because of his needless and senseless act. Like many people in Orkney I felt depressed and powerless on hearing the news. Well, to stop this tanker entering Scapa Flow is something we can do here in Orkney to show some solidarity with our Eastern cousins. If the UK government can’t make decisions about Russian vessels quickly, then we can – Orcadians would be appalled to know that their Council is assisting a Russian ship.”

A vigil is to be held in Orkney at 4pm today, 26th February, on the Green, St Magnus Cathedral. Details here: No War in Ukraine Vigil

Meanwhile the bombing and killing continues in Ukraine. Thousands of people have fled into neighbouring countries, some walking all the way. They have been welcomed by those countries. The UK is not doing this. It is still applying its tough restrictions on who can enter its shores.

On Wednesday, 23rd February Sovcomflot’s NS Challenger which sails under a Liberian flag, loaded oil at Sullom Voe, Shetland. Shetland Islands Council said it could do nothing due to ‘open port’ regulations. The UK Government have banned flights from Russia but this massive Russian shipping company can still call in at our ports and trade.

For those of us old enough we can remember what happened when the Russian tanks rolled into the country which was then known as Czechoslovakia. And I recall my parents telling me of the shame they felt when the UK Government appeased Hitler’s regime and then in March 1939 when the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia.

“How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.”
― William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

Last Night the TV show The Last Leg tweeted this :

“To show some solidarity with the people of Ukraine, we’d like you to retweet this image with the hashtag #NoWarPlease


Fiona Grahame

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4 replies »

  1. Why not organise a regatta or sail training event offshore at flora this would block access to the terminal.After all it is the sailing boats I understand have right of way

  2. Fiona, what can we actually do to physically stop this happening? Happy to attend, help and whatever.


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