As stories of the oil price cap fill the press, readers could be forgiven for thinking that sanctions concern only tanker operators and the oil industry. But as Torbjörn Claesson, Corporate Lawyer at The Swedish Club points out – operators running bulk carriers and container ships can still be impacted by sanctions.
Claesson (pictured) was speaking in Oslo at the recent Marine Insurance Nordics conference. “Container ships, for example, can carry potentially thousands of articles that are sanctioned,” he said. “Bulk carrier operators too have to be careful.
“The issue with Russian sanctions is that they target many industries – but not all – and also many products – but with specific exceptions. For example, a bulk carrier operator cannot carry aluminium. There is only one exception relating to aluminium of a thickness of less than 0.2 mm – which clearly is too thin to be carried on a bulk carrier.”
He also pointed out that unsuspecting operators can be caught up in the sanctions web. “If there is a collision with a vessel that has Russian cargo on board, then the Club must ask questions relating to that cargo before committing to issuing security. And since the cargo – potentially – could be sanctioned, this would then have a spill-over effect on how to handle the claim,” he explained.
“Five to ten years ago the issue of sanctions more directly affected owners trading to a select few places in the world,” he said, “but today it has become a part of everyday life – whether on claims, underwriting or other aspects of our operations.”
Previously the shipping insurance industry was more indirectly affected, concluded Claesson. “Today, insurance and brokering are specifically set out in the sanctions legislation. That means that the insurance industry is now directly impacted by sanctions – we are part of the regulations.”