The ostracisation of Russian maritime from global organisations is accelerating with the country’s class society and a flag registry getting expelled from IACS, and Maersk moving to sell its stake in a major Russian terminal operator.
The Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RMRS) has been withdrawn from the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), and class societies Lloyd’s Register, DNV and ABS have started to pull out of Russia.
“As part of that ongoing evaluation, and following the receipt of external legal advice, the IACS council agreed that the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping’s (RMRS) ongoing membership of IACS is no longer tenable. As such, and under the terms of its charter which requires agreement from 75% or more of its members, IACS council has therefore adopted a resolution that the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping’s membership of IACS is withdrawn with immediate effect,” IACS said in a press release.
Maersk has made the long-awaited decision to sell its stake in Russian terminal operator Global Ports. “AP Moller-Maersk, through APM Terminals, own a minority stake (30.75%) of Global Ports Investments,” it said in a statement. “We have today informed our joint venture partners and GPI, that we wish to take steps to divest our shares following the invasion of Ukraine and the operational challenges.”
Meanwhile, Ukrainian and Russian seafarers with valid US visas have been reportedly denied entry at some US ports on fears that they could disappear in the US rather than return home to Russia or Ukraine.
Industry bodies International Chamber of Shipping, World Shipping Council and Chamber of Shipping of America, sent a letter to Biden administration officials expressing concerns over the Ukrainian and Russian crew members who have been denied entry. The letter asked for guidance on how to process seafarers from Russia and Ukraine so that it could be applied universally across US ports. The letter was sent to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, as it also expressed concerns about the impact of sanctions, especially those on two separatist regions in Ukraine, on ships with crew members from those places.
As the ban on seafarers from Ukraine and Russia, which account for 4.5% and 10.5% of the global workforce continues, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) council agreed to encourage the establishment, as a provisional and urgent measure, of a blue safe maritime corridor to allow the safe evacuation of seafarers and ships from the high-risk and affected areas in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
Shipping is steering clear of Russian companies, according to Israeli predictive maritime intelligence firm Windward, with its proprietary behavioral data indicating that in the past two weeks, there has been a decrease in the number of bunkering operations by Russian-owned vessels fueling non-Russian-owned vessels. “This strengthens our previous assessment that moral sanctions are being applied – much of the world is trying to avoid doing business with Russian entities,” Windward noted. Windward’s data also revealed that just in the past week, the overall foreign port operations of Russian-owned commercial vessels (cargo and tanker) were cut by 64%.