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Russian LNG tanker Boris Vilkitsky 'turned away' from Isle of Grain gas terminal


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A Russian tanker carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) for Britain has been turned away from the Isle of Grain, it is reported.

The 128,806-tonne Boris Vilkitsky was expected to arrive in the early hours of this morning (Friday) at the Kent oil and gas terminal but it was diverted at the last minute when dockers refused to unload it.

Isle of Grain LNG terminal run by National Grid
Isle of Grain LNG terminal run by National Grid

Trade union members of Unison warned they would refuse to help bring the gas onshore.

Matt Lay, Unison’s national officer for energy, said: “This will come as a relief to the Grain terminal workers. But while it looks like the union’s intervention has been successful in seeing these ships turned away, a more fundamental problem remains.”

Tankers carrying oil and gas are still arriving at ports including Foyle Port in Derry and Liverpool.

But National Grid, which operates the Isle of Grain LNG terminal, has confirmed it is no longer expecting any deliveries of Russian gas. The Boris Vilkitsky consignment was destined for Centrica which owns British Gas. It left Sabetta in Russia on February 25 and is sailing under the Cyprus flag.

It is still underway using its engine and, according to the Marine Traffic app, awaiting further orders. Its last position was in the English Channel off Torquay.

Isle of Grain LNG terminal run by National Grid
Isle of Grain LNG terminal run by National Grid

Medway Labour leader Vince Maple backed the action taken by dockers and expected most would support the move.

"Clearly workers here in Medway and particularly on the Isle of Grain want to show solidarity and support to Ukraine," he said. "One way of doing that is by clearly refusing to take Russian consignments. People want to show support to Ukraine in anyway they can.

"This is a very simple way of doing it and they have my full support."

He said there would be an inevitable knock on effect of refusing to take Russian supplies but said people were willing to make sacrifices.

"Any stop of an amount of electric or gas will have an impact," he added. "I think there has to be a recognition by all of us that sanctions of any form will have an impact - but most people will be willing to make these sacrifices to show support and solidarity for Ukraine."

The stand-off came days after the ship the Balticborg changed its automatic identification system destination to 'Stop War Ukraine' instead of 'Sheerness' on Tuesday as it docked at the Isle of Sheppey port opposite the Isle of Grain.

The UK could spend an average of more than £6m a day on Russian gas this year, according to analysts at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), which could end up funding Putin's war.

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