Bangladesh on Tuesday refused waterway access to the Russian ship Ursa Major, which was delivering nuclear plant components destined for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Station construction site, The Maritime Executive has reported. Access was denied as the ship has ties to the Russian shipping company SC South, which is owned by parent company Oboronlogistika, a shipping provider that has been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The U.S., according to Nuclear Engineering International, informed the Bangladesh government that the ship’s proper name is Sparta III, which is sanctioned. The ship, however, has had its name and colors changed, while the International Marine Organization claims the certificate number was that of Sparta III. The IMO also noted that providing any assistance to a sanctioned ship, either in providing fuel or offloading goods, could result in sizeable fines.
“Russia informed us that they sent the vessel by mistake and now would replace it with another ship to carry the consignment for the Rooppur power plant and deliver it to the Bangladesh port,” said Bangladesh Minister of Science and Technology Yafes Osman, as quoted by New Age.
The ship, which was expected to reach the port of Mongla on December 24, is currently held up off the coast of the Sundarbans, a delta region in the Bay of Bengal, east of India.
For now, the Ursa Major appears to be consigned to an extended wait off the coast of the Sundarbans. Her AIS signal has been received only intermittently by commercial satellite AIS receivers, which typically indicates that the unit has been turned on and off.
"Russia informed us that they sent the vessel by mistake and would now replace it with another ship to carry the consignment for Rooppur power plant and deliver it at the Bangladesh port," Osman told Bangladeshi outlet New Age.
According to The Maritime Executive, previous shipments from Russia to the Rooppur site were carried out by neutral, foreign-flag vessels, including a Russian-flagged ship Kamilla and a Liberian-flagged ship Dragonball.
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