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Dhaka expects Russia to send “non-sanctioned” ship to Bangladesh: Momen

22 January 2023, 9:25:14

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen today asked Russia to send ships to Bangladesh which remained beyond US sanctions, saying Dhaka doesn’t want its ties with Washington to be affected.

“It appeared surprising to us that Russia sent a ship (to Bangladesh) knowing it well that it was under US sanction . . . they just changed the ship’s name which we did not expect,” he told newsmen as approached for comments on the issue.

Momen added: “We told Russia that they can send us cargo through any of their vessels except 69 ships those are under (US) sanction.”

Russia last month sent a ship to deliver equipment for Bangladesh’s Rooppur nuclear power plant, being built with their assistance, but Dhaka refused to accept the vessel due to the US sanctions against the backdrop of Russia-Ukraine War.

“We don’t want to accept those (Russian) ships which are under (the US) sanctions. We have developed good relations with the US,” Momen told reporters at the foreign ministry.

The Russian flag carrier — Sparta III — was scheduled to dock at Mongla port on December 24 to unload the cargo but Bangladesh authorities denied its docking while it reached the country’s territorial waters in Bay of Bengal.

Foreign ministry officials earlier said the denial came after the US Embassy in Dhaka in a letter to Bangladesh authorities described the vessel to be actually URSA MAJOR, which was on their list of sanctioned Russian ships.

According to the US list of 69 sanctioned Russian vessels, URSA MAJOR or Sparta III is an Amphibious/Attack Cargo Ship (AKA), designed to sail carrying equipment, cargo and troops.

Media reports suggested after Dhaka’s refusal, the ship was redirected to Haldia Port of India’s West Bengal in an apparent effort to deliver the cargo there but Moscow revealed two days ago that it was returning to Russia.

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