German ship carrying Russian oil leaves Merseyside after workers refuse to unload cargo

Credit: PA Images

A ship carrying Russian oil which had been moored on Merseyside has moved on after workers refused to unload the cargo.

The German-flagged Seacod was moored near the Stanlow Oil Refinery but moved away on Sunday, 6 March, heading north.

Unions have urged the Government to close what they believe is a loophole following a ban on Russian vessels docking in the UK - because they say cargo is not covered.

Unite said because the vessel is German flagged it does not fall under the UK's ban on Russian shipping.

Seacod was moored near the Stanford Oil Refinery. Credit: Liverpool Echo

It was not clear if the oil was unloaded before unions became aware it was Russian.

A Government spokesman said: "It is mandatory for all ports and harbours to follow legislation banning all ships that are Russian owned, operated, controlled, registered or flagged from entering British ports.

"The Government will support all ports in exercising their responsibilities.

"We'll continue to monitor the impact of the situation, but the UK has no issue with gas supply, and unlike other countries in Europe, the UK is in no way dependent on Russian gas, with imports making up just 4% of demand.

"Ministers are exploring options to further reduce the already small amount of imports we do get from Russia and we continue to urge Europe to put in place plans to end their dependence in Russian gas."

Stanlow operators Essar said: "Essar remains deeply concerned by the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine and is fully complying with the statutory framework implemented by the UK government with regard to Russia-related entities.

"Earlier this week, we turned away two cargos of non-Russian origin crude oil which would have been delivered in Russian-flagged tankers.

"We can confirm that a German-flagged vessel was approved to berth at Tranmere Oil Terminal by the Port Authority on Thursday March 3.

"This vessel set sail for Tranmere on February 22, before the invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent introduction of UK Government sanctions.

"For a number of days, we have been working urgently to find alternative sources of diesel while simultaneously ensuring uninterrupted supply of fuel to the North West of England.

"Essar will continue to comply fully and will respond promptly to any changes the UK Government may make to the statutory framework of sanctions."

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: "Unite contacted Essar, who operate the Stanlow oil refinery, to inform the company that due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Unite workers at the facility will under no circumstances unload any Russian oil regardless of the nationality of the vessel.

"Unite urges the transport secretary Grant Shapps to close this loophole immediately."