Longshoremen Turn Away Tanker Full of Russian Diesel at Amsterdam

marc bos
Petroleum terminal, Amsterdam (Marc Bos / CC BY SA 3.0)

Published May 1, 2022 5:09 PM by The Maritime Executive

A longshoremen's union in the Netherlands has refused to handle a cargo of Russian diesel fuel aboard a 75,000 dwt product tanker, leaving the vessel stranded.

The tanker Sunny Liger loaded a cargo of diesel at the Russian Baltic Sea port of Primorsk late last month, then headed for a port in Sweden. Swedish longshoremen refused to handle her cargo, so she diverted to Amsterdam, where dockers, pilots and tug operators have also turned her away. 

"The ship is not a usual customer of the port of Rotterdam, and I, therefore, call on dockworkers to keep their feet off it," said Niek Stam, the leader of the harbor division of trade union FMV, speaking to ANP. "If dockworkers somewhere else in the world refuse the cargo we will also refuse."

Sunny Liger is managed in India and flagged with an American-managed open registry. She is not affected by the EU port ban on Russian-connected vessels, according to Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Wopke Hoekstra. Her challenges in the Netherlands are related exclusively to public concern that Russian petroleum sales are funding the invasion of Ukraine; as an example of that sentiment, Hoekstra expressed his approval of FNV's decision not to provide the ship with any services, though he acknowledged that the Dutch government could not block the ship. 

The Liger is currently anchored off the port of Amsterdam, awaiting further developments.

Though the EU currently accepts Russian crude and refined-product cargoes, its leaders hope to wean the block off of Russia's oil before the end of the year. The bloc is ratcheting up sanctions on Russian energy and commerce at an unprecedented rate, and oil - Russia's most valuable export - is a critical target. Russian gas will be far more difficult to fully displace from the European energy mix; it is hardwired into the EU's infrastructure via pipeline, and there are few immediately-available alternatives on the global market. 

Top Image: Petroleum terminal, Amsterdam (Marc Bos / CC BY SA 3.0)