A tanker carrying 60,000 tons of Russian diesel fuel is floating idle near the coast of Amsterdam after having been turned away from three separate ports. Dock workers at one port in Sweden and two ports in the Netherlands all refused to unload the fuel, citing “international solidarity” with Ukraine, Business Insider reports. It looks like there’s no port in the storm for ships carrying Russian cargo—even if that cargo is diesel fuel, a pretty hot commodity right now.
The Sunny Liger is not a Russian ship (it flies a Marshall Islands flag), and isn’t subject to sanctions banning Russian vessels from entering European Union ports. And as Business Insider points out, Dutch foreign minister Wopke Hoekstra said the tanker’s cargo isn’t officially barred. The tanker was loaded in the city of Primorsk, a western Russian city near that nation’s border with Finland, and set sail on the Baltic Sea on April 24th, according to Marine Traffic.
Every time the tanker has tried to land, Swedish and Dutch union dock workers have refused to allow the Sunny Liger to enter their ports. “If dock workers somewhere else in the world refuse the cargo we will also refuse,” Niek Stam, head of the maritime division of the Federation of Dutch Trade Unions, told Bloomberg. “We do that on the basis of international solidarity.”
Big boats have been an enticing target for pushback against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Russian yachts in particular are being surveilled, seized, and in at least one case, sabotaged in acts of resistance, in part because Russian oligarchs seem to have a particular fondness for huge luxury boats. But this is the first example we’ve come across where unionized workers have chosen to refuse a commercial ship for carrying Russian-produced cargo. Solidarity forever.