IACS Votes to Expel Russian Maritime Register

rs class arktika
File image courtesy RS Class

Published Mar 13, 2022 5:55 PM by The Maritime Executive

The members of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) have voted to expel the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping from their ranks, citing the impact of allied sanctions. 

Following Russia's sudden invasion of Ukraine on February 24, NATO's allied nations have imposed punishing sanctions on the Russian economy, cutting off most Russian banks from the international wire transfer system and imposing wide-ranging sanctions on Russian state-owned enterprises. The Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS Class) was added to the EU's financial-sanctions list last week. In addition, the UK - where IACS is domiciled - has taken measures to freeze the assets of every Russian bank, moving farther and faster than any other nation to clamp down on transactions with the Russian financial sector. 

On Friday, IACS announced that it has voted to expel RS Class, citing the impact of sanctions in its home jurisdiction. 

"Following the recent, tragic developments in Ukraine and resulting actions taken by governments and other entities worldwide including, in particular, sanctions in the UK where IACS is domiciled, IACS Council has been continuously reviewing the developing sanctions landscape," the organization wrote. "Following the receipt of external legal advice, IACS Council today agreed that the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping’s (RMRS) ongoing membership of IACS is no longer tenable."

With the agreement of at least 75 percent of its members, the IACS Council voted to withdraw the membership of RS Class, effective immediately. 

"IACS deeply regrets the circumstances that have resulted in this decision and hopes that hostilities in Ukraine will cease as soon as possible, and that peace will return to the region," the council wrote. 

The decision is the latest development in the growing isolation of Russian shipping. The UK and Canada have banned Russian ships; multiple longshore unions have refused to move Russian cargoes across the dock; five out of the six largest container lines have reduced or eliminated service for Russian ports; and Maersk Group has moved to divest its stake in a Russian terminal operator. These responses to the invasion of Ukraine have already trimmed Russian port activity by 40 percent, according to Windward.