TREAD CAREFULLY: Govt warns entities to ‘take appropriate caution’ with sanctioned Russian entities

TREAD CAREFULLY: Govt warns entities to ‘take appropriate caution’ with sanctioned Russian entities
(FILE)

UK to stop Russian imports by end of 2022; US bans all imports of Russian oil, gas & coal

Govt discussing policy position on Russian vessels allegedly docking in The Bahamas

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Cabinet Office has issued a statement warning all entities operating in The Bahamas to take “appropriate caution” in any transactions with Russian individuals or entities who have been sanctioned by the United States, European Union, Canada and the United Kingdom.

This comes as the government continues extensive deliberations on whether it will join many countries around the world in imposing sanctions on Russia over the country’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

It is the intent of the Cabinet to discuss further what the government’s policy position is.

– Minister of Transport and Housing JoBeth Coleby-Davis

The statement indicated that the government is in consultations with all its partners and stakeholders, both domestic and international, and the situation is “evolving”.

“We continue to deplore the attack on Ukraine by the Russian Federation,” the government said.

The Cabinet discussions are also centered around the government’s policy position to allow vessels flagged, operated or owned by Russia to dock at ports in The Bahamas.

At least three tankers controlled by Sovcomflot, a Russian state-owned maritime company, have reportedly rerouted to The Bahamas after being blacklisted by the United States over the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, according to international reports.

The company’s oil and refined products tankers SCF Don, SCF Neva and SCF Ussuri signaled The Bahamas as their destination over the weekend. 

Minister of Transport and Housing JoBeth Coleby-Davis (center).

But Minister of Transport and Housing JoBeth Coleby-Davis said neither her ministry nor the port controller received a request for the vessels to be allowed to dock.

“We are still following up to see if there has been a call for the tankers and if there is, then we’d have to determine what the policy position of the government is,” she said.

The transport minister said the Cabinet, under the advice of the attorney general, will have to consider the matter.

“It is the intent of the Cabinet to discuss further what the government’s policy position is. I can’t speak to say what it will be, what position we will take,” she said.

“…It’s at that point now where we have to sit and discuss and come to some conclusion.”

Along with the United States, Britain and Canada have also banned vessels flagged, operated or owned by Russia from docking at their ports.

The United States has officially requested The Bahamas to join its allies in issuing sanctions against Russia.

However, Russian Ambassador to Cuba Andrey Guskov told a local daily this week that Russia “is ready for active cooperation with The Bahamas” in various fields, including political, trade and investment, humanitarian and education, among others.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell.

The government has not made a formal decision on whether it will implement sanctions and is awaiting the position of CARICOM on the matter, according to Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell.

Mitchell has said the country’s position will be driven by practicalities such as its relationship with the US and the European Union, and its financial services sector.

The Bahamas has strongly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, joining 140 other United Nations members in demanding that Russia withdraw its military forces from the country.

Global superpowers continue to unleash a litany of sanctions against Russian air and sea transport, businesses and financial transactions, in an effort to force Russian President Vladimir Putin to cease fire on Ukraine. 

The latest hit has been Moscow’s oil exports. The United Kingdom announced yesterday that it would phase out Russian oil imports by the end of 2022.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has confirmed a ban on Russian oil, gas and coal imports.

About Sloan Smith

Sloan Smith is a senior digital reporter at Eyewitness News, covering a diverse range of beats, from politics and crime to environment and human interest. In 2018, Sloan received a nomination for the “Leslie Higgs Feature Writer of The Year Award” from The Bahamas Press Club for her work with Eyewitness News.