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Exclusive: Russian tanker off Cowal

Matter raised in parliament by Brendan O'Hara MP

By Gordon Neish
Exclusive: Russian tanker off Cowal
Russian-owned ship NS Century - currently tied up on Loch Long

There has been much in the news this weekend about the Russian oil tanker NS Champion attempting to dock at Orkney’s Flotta oil terminal at Scapa Flow, but what about the tanker that is already here?

Orkney Islands Council has been looking for ways to block the docking after an outcry from islanders as Russia invades neighbouring Ukraine.

However, NS Champion’s sister ship, NS Century, has been docked at Finnart on Loch Long – close to the Clyde navy base – for some time.

The vessels belong to the Russian government-owned shipping giant Sovcomflot (SCF Group), but sail under a Liberian flag of convenience.

The matter was raised by Argyll and Bute MP Brendan O’Hara today (Monday).

Speaking at Westminster during a statement on UK sanctions being taken against Russia, he asked the Foreign Secretary: “The Russian state-owned oil tanker NS Century is berthed at the Finnart oil terminal on Loch Long; a port adjacent to RNAD Coulport where the UK’s nuclear arsenal is stored and which the Russian ship would have sailed within a few hundred yards to reach Finnart.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss responded: “They won’t be going about their business freely much longer.”

Following the Foreign Secretary’s statement, Mr. O’Hara said that he thought it ridiculous that when the UK, along with so many other European states had closed airspace to Russian flights that Russian state-owned oil-tankers could seemingly continue with business-as-usual, securing much-needed cash for the Putin regime.

He added that he would be raising the issue of Russian oil-tankers using Finnart directly with the Ministry of Defence and Prime Minister.

More in Friday’s paper, including reaction from Finnart owners Ineos.

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