A ship that may belong to a Russian company suspected of breaking new trade sanctions over the war in Ukraine was seized by French authorities early on Saturday.
The cargo ro-ro was diverted to the French port of Boulogne-sur-Mer, Captain Veronique Magnin of the French Maritime Prefecture told Reuters. Ongoing checks were being carried out by customs officials.
The vessel was transporting cars heading for St Petersburg is “strongly suspected of being linked to Russian interests targeted by the sanctions,” said Captain Magnin.
According to MarineTraffic data examined by TradeWinds, the 8,831-gt Russian flag ro-ro Baltic Leader was moored in Boulogne Saturday morning.
The registered owner of the 2000-built vessel is PSB Leasing LLC based in the Marshall Islands, according to data from Clarksons’ Shipping Intelligence Network.
US President Joe Biden earlier this week imposed sanctions on state-owned development bank and military-focused lender PSB Leasing as part of a package of sanctions in retaliation for Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Other ships hit with sanctions include two aframax tankers, the 115,418-dwt Linda (built 2003) and the 115,527-dwt Pegas (built 2003). Also blacklisted are the 822-teu container ships Fesco Magadan and Fesco Moneron (both built 2003).
For both tankers and the Baltic Leader, PSB Leasing is named as the registered owner while Transmorflot is listed as a manager. Both boxships are owned and managed by Moscow-based Fesco.
The Russian embassy in France is seeking an explanation from authorities over the seizure, Russia’s RIA news agency quoted the embassy as saying.