Russia targets merchant ships, France intercepts freighter: reports

  • The movements of merchant and cargo ships are under scrutiny as part of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  • BBC News reported on Saturday that France had stopped a cargo ship en route to St Petersburg in Russia.
  • On Friday, a tanker crew had to abandon ship after being hit by a Russian missile.

The movements and activities of merchant ships and cargo ships are under intense scrutiny as the invasion of Ukraine continues.

BBC News reported on Saturday that the French Navy had intercepted a freighter in the English Channel heading for St. Petersburg, Russia.

French border forces are inspecting the shipment to determine if it belongs to a company targeted by EU sanctions against Moscow, the newspaper reported.

Meanwhile, merchant ships are increasingly becoming the target of Russian missiles, The Maritime Executive reported.

In an incident on Friday, the crew of a small chemical tanker was forced to abandon ship and two seriously injured, the outlet reported. He quoted a tweet from Ukrainian Academy OSINT.

International Maritime Organization (IMO) Secretary General Kitack Lim is urging “all parties to take steps to ensure” safe passage across the seas.

Lim told Insider that he backs and supports UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ call for an immediate end to hostilities. He added: “I am gravely concerned about the fallout of military action in Ukraine on global shipping, logistics and supply chains.”

“Along with the people of Ukraine, innocent ships, seafarers and port workers engaged in legitimate trade should not be affected by this growing crisis. Shipping, especially seafarers, cannot be collateral victims in a political crisis. and broader military – they need to be safe and secure,” Lim said.

Russia was seen sailing in the Black Sea earlier in February, bringing military might closer to Ukraine, Insider reported.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the ships were moving to the region to “work out the actions of naval and aerospace forces to protect Russian national interests in the global ocean.”

In one statement published on the IMO websiteOn Friday, Lim said: “The security situation in Ukraine is impacting trade by sea. The safety of maritime personnel, including seafarers, is vital. Maritime transport is essential to global trade – as it has proven during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He added: “I urge all parties to take action to ensure the protection of seafarers, ships and cargo.”

According to The Wall Street Journal Friday, the most serious incident since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia was reported by the national naval agency of Moldova. A missile hit a commercial tanker in the Black Sea, destroying the ship’s lifeboats and forcing the crew to jump overboard.

Reuters reported that insurers have increased their rates for ships operating in the Black Sea, which would mean additional costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars for a boat trip, the agency said.

Lim released a statement Thursday, after Russia entered Ukraine. “The use of force by one country against another is the repudiation of the principles that each country has pledged to uphold. This applies to the current military offensive,” he said.

He added: “That is wrong. It’s against the charter. This is unacceptable. But it is not irreversible. I reiterate my appeal to President Putin last night: Stop the military operation. the toll of the war.


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William D. Babcock

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