Why the Russian ship Shtandart is forbidden to dock

Why the Russian ship Shtandart is forbidden to dock
Why the Russian ship Shtandart is forbidden to dock

The Russian ship Shtandart, an exact replica of a frigate of Tsar Peter the Great, will not be able to participate in the Brest Maritime Festival, from July 12 to 17, 2024, due to a decree from the Finistère prefecture. A decision regretted by the ship’s crew.

The ship, whose Russian flag has been controversial for months, had to change its flag last spring to that of the Cook Islands, at the request of the French authorities. Despite this, the prefect of Finistère, “in connection with government authorities”a pris “an order prohibiting access to the port of Brest” against the Shtandart, according to a press release released this Sunday, July 7, 2024, in the evening.

This ban is based on the extension decided on June 24 of European sanctions which now apply to “historical replica ships”, “in view of Russia’s actions destabilizing the situation in Ukraine”. Vessel “is therefore not authorized to access the port of Brest, nor any other port in the department” specifies the prefecture.

The Shtandart, which left the port of La Rochelle on July 3, is currently between the Ile d’Yeu and Saint-Nazaire, its captain Vladimir Martus told AFP. The ship was supposed to dock this Thursday, July 11 in Brest, on the eve of the opening of the Maritime Festival, one of the largest maritime gatherings in the world.

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“We know that the good Ukrainian people waged a heroic struggle against the aggressor, we knew that the Russian tricolor flag could be a reason for their anger” explains the captain in a press release released on July 8.
According to him, “The real mission of Shtandart is to develop friendship between people of all nations, to put an end to hatred at the level of ordinary people”.

For the Shtandart and its crew, this situation “is a matter of life and death”according to Vladimir Martus, while the ship is “at sea without a port of arrival”.

On the side of the opponents of the ship, the prefectural decision is “an important precedent”Bernard Grua, leader of the collective “No Shtandart In Europe”, told AFP. “We are going in the right direction” adds the reserve naval officer, who is nevertheless maintaining the gathering planned for Tuesday July 9 in Brest “to request the effective application of the prefectural decree”.
“Our goal remains the same: to get the Shtandart out. It has no place in French ports.” he said.

As for the Brest town hall, it has announced its intention to “respect state guidelines”. “We will implement it without discussion” assures Fortuné Pellicano, deputy mayor of Brest and delegated president of the Maritime Festivals.

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