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Sanctions Backfire as Russian Ships Clog Up French Ports, Cost Local Authorities Thousands to Move

© Photo : Video / France 2Screengrab of France 2 report on how a sanctioned Russian vessel is clogging up a port in Brittany.
Screengrab of France 2 report on how a sanctioned Russian vessel is clogging up a port in Brittany. - Sputnik International, 1920, 24.04.2022
Paris and its allies slapped Russia with tough sanctions in the aftermath of Moscow’s decision to recognise the sovereignty of the Donbass republics on 21 February, and its 24 February move to launch a military operation in Ukraine.
Russian-owned commercial vessels trapped in French ports containing vehicles, chemicals and other cargoes have become a major nuisance for local authorities, cluttering up dockyards and costing thousands of euros to move, France 2 TV has reported.

The TV channel cites the example of the Vladimir Latyshev, a Russian-flagged general cargo ship trapped in Saint-Malo, north-western France. The 141-metre-long ship is so large it barely fits into the Brittany region port’s pier, forcing workers to constantly move it around to make room for other ships. Nearly 50,000 euros have reportedly been spent moving around Russian ships to date, with Brittany forced to pick up the tab and requesting aid from Paris.

As for the Vladimir Latyshev’s crew, they have been stuck onboard for some 50 days, and depend entirely on their employer for meals, as their bank cards have been blocked in France.
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Brittany regional council vice-chairman, Staphane Perrin, told France 2 that the longer the ship is stuck in port, the more time it will need to be moved back and forth. “Even if it seems like this is just tiny movements through the port, they cost a lot of money every time”, the official complained.
Russian ship owners have initiated multiple lawsuits against French authorities over the detention of their vessel, with one boat – the Pola Ariake, a Russian-owned but Panama-flagged bulk carrier, freed from detention in the port of Lorient late last month after a judge ruled that no sanctions actually apply to the handysize vessel.
More Russian vessels remain trapped in other ports, including Marseille and Boulogne-sur-Mer, taking up space and turning into a headache for local authorities as dockworkers as the West’s all-out sanctions war against Russia marks its second month.
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European governments began detaining Russian-owned and/or Russian-flagged vessels, including both commercial and cargo ships and tycoon-owned super-yachts, in late February.
Earlier this month, the European Union slapped Russia with a fifth package of sanctions, with its list of prohibitions including a ban on Russian flag-flying vessels entering EU ports. European manufacturers dependent on sales of machinery, vehicles and other high-value goods to Russia have expressed serious concerns over the drop-off in economic cooperation, citing lost profits due to the loss of markets. These losses come on top of increasing inflation, food and fuel prices at home thanks to more expensive oil and gas as the US and its allies seek alternatives to competitively priced and dependable Russian sources of energy.
Russia has also been impacted by Western restrictions, seeing a jump in inflation, interest rates, job losses, and other negative consequences. However, last week, President Vladimir Putin said the country had successfully weathered unprecedented sanctions pressure from the West, which he characterised as a failed attempt at an “economic blitzkrieg” against Russia.
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