U.S. Sanctions Appear to Prompt Exit of ICS Board Member

Pola Rise
File image courtesy Pola Rise

Published Feb 28, 2023 3:45 PM by The Maritime Executive

Pola Rise, a specialist in river-sea class vessels for Russia's inland waterways, was among the 230 Russian entities blacklisted by the United States Treasury in its latest round of sanctions related to the invasion of Ukraine. The designation could be expected, but it has additional repercussions for shipping's leading industry body: The director of Pola Rise, Albert Vygovski, is a board member of the International Chamber of Shipping. 

Pola Rise has a young fleet of 22 ships, all individually sanctioned by name, which serve ports in Russia's western littoral and inland waters. Historically, these vessels also served short-sea routes to neighboring states in Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, the Baltic and the Black Sea. 

The U.S. Department of State selected Pola Rise for sanctions because it is "increasing Russia’s trade with Turkey and facilitating shipments of materials to Arctic construction sites." The blacklisting may have an impact on overseas port access going forward. 

Vygovskii, 52, is the head of Pola Rise and has been involved in the Russian inland shipping sector since 1995. He attended Lloyd's Maritime Academy and Copenhagen Business School, and he went on to run Volga-Baltic Logistics Company, North-Western Shipping Company and Pola Rise, where he has been the general director since 2018. 

Vykovskii joined the ICS board in June 2021. As of Tuesday evening, his bio on the ICS webpage has been taken down, and a UK corporate registry lists his status with ICS as "resigned" effective February 28. Pola Rise's website has also been taken offline.