- The European Union has adopted the fifth package of sanctions against Russia. It includes an entry ban on Russian-flagged vessels to EU ports except for vessels carrying medical, humanitarian cargo and, notably, energy.
Actually, the same ban was introduced in March when sanctions were imposed on Russian Maritime Register of Shipping. The bulk of Russia’s foreign trade involves foreign-flagged ships, in most cases those flying under so called flags of convenience. The share of freight transported by vessels operating under the flag of the Russian Federation accounted for only 2% of the total foreign trade flow. Total deadweight of seaborne freight vessels operated by Russian shipping companies is estimated at 23-24 million tonnes, that of the Russian flag – about 8-9 million tonnes.
Moreover, most of cargo was carried by ships of non-Russian owners. In the Baltic Basin, containerized cargo was carried by foreign lines, some of which (Maersk, MCS, CMA CGM) rejected working with Russia earlier. The bulk of Russian ships calling European ports used to be made by small vessels carrying general cargo and auxiliary vessels.
Thus, the latest package of sanctions banned something that had been banned earlier.