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EU Places Financial Sanctions on Russian Maritime Register of Shipping

RS Class
File image courtesy RS Class

Published Mar 10, 2022 11:02 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RS Class), which acts as both an international class society and a flag registry for Russian vessels, has been added to a list of state-owned enterprises "subject to financing limitations" imposed by the EU.

The European Commission announced the move in a statement Wednesday, and it is part of a package of new sanctions designations targeting Russian and Belarusian entities, including an additional 160 individuals. Taken together, EU sanctions measures related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine now apply to more than 860 individuals and more than 50 business entities.

The European Commission said that exports of maritime navigation technology to Russia have also been placed under new limitations, and "prior information sharing" will be implemented for exports of maritime safety equipment. 

The private sector has also been severing ties with Russia, driven by a combination of new business challenges and legal restrictions. On Thursday, class society Lloyd's Register joined the exodus and announced that it will no longer serve Russian shipping, citing new regulatory measures in its home markets.

"Based on the latest legislative requirements taking effect in the United Kingdom, the European Union and United States, LR has confirmed that it will disengage from the provision of all services to Russian owned, controlled or managed assets or companies," LR said in a statement. "LR will be communicating directly with all affected parties."

The move is part of a broader retreat of Western shipping companies out of Russia. Five out of the six largest ocean carriers have suspended or partially suspended service for Russian cargoes, and AIS traffic data suggests that trade volume at Russian seaports has declined by about 40 percent since the start of the invasion, according to maritime analytics company Windward. 

In the UK and in Canada, Russian-controlled shipping has been barred from all ports (though the details are complex). Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin pushed back against foreign port closures on Wednesday, threatening to retaliate against nations that bar Russian ships, according to Reuters.