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ABS Suspends Class Services for Russian Vessels

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File image courtesy Flowcomm / CC BY 2.0

Published Mar 14, 2022 2:09 PM by The Maritime Executive

The American Bureau of Shipping has joined the exodus of maritime companies leaving the Russian market, the class society said in a statement Monday. 

"After careful consideration of the situation in the Ukraine and the Black Sea as well as the applicable sanctions, ABS has taken the decision to withdraw all class services involving Russian vessels, assets and companies," ABS wrote. "The decision follows the tragic events developing in Ukraine and a thorough evaluation of the evolving regulatory and sanctions environment and its applicability to ABS operations. As a U.S. company, ABS strictly follows both the letter and the spirit of U.S. sanctions’ law."

The decision aligns with a wide array of NATO-member sanctions on Russian commerce, including UK and Canadian port bans on Russian-linked shipping; extensive coordinated sanctions on Russia's banking sector; American and Canadian bans on Russian oil; and EU sanctions on Russia's flag administration/class society, RS Class. The private sector and civil society have taken additional measures in response, including the ejection of RS Class from IACS and the exit of five leading container lines from the Russian shipping market. 

ABS' decision follows similar statements from DNV and LR, which both announced the termination of services for Russian-related entities last week.

In a statement, ABS said that it is in the process of discussing its decision with affected clients, and it is working to ensure the safety of all of its employees in the region. Taking action comes with its own measure of risk: Russia's government has threatened to nationalize the assets of foreign companies that exit its market, and its prosecutors have threatened to take legal action against foreign executives who criticize its decisions, according to the Wall Street Journal

Top image courtesy Flowcomm / CC BY 2.0