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Council / Russian shipping ban not expected to have financial repercussions for Sullom Voe

NS Challenger berthed at the Sullom Voe oil port on Friday last week. Photo: Shetland News

A RECENTLY imposed ban on Russian-owned or controlled ships from UK ports is not expected to have financial consequences for the port of Sullom Voe, according to a senior council official. 

Director of infrastructure services John Smith was asked during a meeting of the council’s harbour board on Wednesday afternoon if this part of the sanctions against Russia would have any repercussions on tanker traffic at the port.

The harbour account contributes over £12 million in income towards Shetland Islands Council.

Smith told councillors that in his view there were plenty of other options available to those working in the global oil trade.

“Other tankers will be available for hire. In the past all the oil that has come into Sullom Voe Terminal has been lifted,” he said. “I have no doubt that in the current market conditions that will continue to be the case, so I don’t think it will have an effect.”

The issue of tankers belonging to state-owned Russian shipping company Sovcomflot calling at UK oil ports was raised by Shetland News last Wednesday when the NS Challenger was approaching Sullom Voe for a cargo of North Sea crude oil.

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael secured a commitment from prime minister Boris Johnson on Thursday to investigate the status of Russian tankers. On Monday – day five of the Russian invasion of Ukraine – all Russian shipping was banned from UK ports.

Meanwhile, the harbour board heard that during the three months from October to December 2021 the SIC earned an additional £700,000 in rent for the Shetland Gas Plant thanks to a rise in the global price of gas.

At the same time, however, the expected income from running the oil port was down by more than £1.1 million as a result of fewer tankers than expected calling at the port.