Tanker Diverted Because UK Port Workers Don’t Want to Unload Russian Gas

TEESSIDE, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 09: The Maltese registered JS Chukar LPG (Liquified Petroleum
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A tanker loaded with Russian-origin natural gas has been diverted after dockers from one UK trade union refused to unload it, saying they “did not want to touch the cargo”.

Members of the trade union Unison are reported to not want to so much as “touch” the natural gas cargo carried by two tankers over its Russian origin.

The tankers — which are reportedly enough to supply the UK for 12 days — should instead be turned around according to the trade union, who have asked the UK’s Transport Secretary to step up sanctions on Russian imports.

According to a post on the union’s website, while workers are afraid of losing their jobs should they refuse to unload the cargo, they are reportedly “determined to show their support for the Ukrainian people and uphold the sanctions imposed against Russia”.

“The workers at the National Grid terminal don’t want to touch the cargo given the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine,” the group’s head of energy, Matt Lay, is reported as saying, asking instead for the British government to tighten sanctions against Russia even further.

“[UK Transport Secretary] Grant Shapps must send these two ships packing,” he continued. “He needs to make it clear that all Russian ships are banned from every UK port and terminal.”

While the British government has banned all vessels with a connection to Russia from landing in UK ports, the new law makes no reference to what the cargo ships are carrying.

According to The Telegraph, the two ships at the centre of this row — Fedor Litke and the Boris Vilkitskiy — are owned by a Greek firm, and are transporting liquified Russian natural gas.

The Guardian has since reported that one of the ships, the Boris Vilkitsky, has been diverted away from the energy facility.

Unison is far from the only group looking to cut-off Russia from its connections to the rest of the world, with the nation facing complete ostracisation in the worlds of sport, culture and business as a result of its invasion of Ukraine.

This banishment has been positively encouraged by world powers, with the UK’s Culture and Media Secretary, Nadine Dorries, saying that “culture is now the third front in the Ukrainian war”.

“Culture and sport can be equally as effective as economic sanctions in isolating rogue regimes,” Dorries wrote in an opinion piece for The Telegraph. “I’ve been working to mobilise the full might of the UK’s soft power against Putin, to entrench the Russian president’s status as an international pariah.”

“Putin is now suffering a sporting and cultural Siberia of his own making,” she also claimed.

Europe has also begun isolating its population from Russian media, completely banning the country’s state-broadcasters RT and Sputnik from the bloc, with EU operators now forbidden from broadcasting, facilitating or otherwise contributing to the dissemination of content from both state-media outlets, according to a Reuters report.

The move has prompted concern from one Dutch minister, who wants assurances that the extreme measure will be regularly reviewed.

“We should try to keep it as short as possible and as long as necessary,” said Alexandra van Huffelen — who serves as the country’s Digital Minister — according to POLITICO. “It should be the one very, very exception because there is a war.”

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