Vigo, what you need to know about Russian ship Shtandart.

Vigo, what you need to know about Russian ship Shtandart

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The Russian sailing ship « Shtandart » has been very efficient in bypassing the 5th package of sanctions that prohibits the entrance of Russian vessels in European ports. Its narrative is turned in a way that creates sympathy preventing media to question its bona fide character. Here are some of the numerous facts that are usually silenced while Shtandart plans to sail to Vigo, Galicia.

« Shtandart has authorization from the Spanish Ministry to enter Spanih harbours. This exceptional authorization in Spain is based on the express French authorization of Macron. Shtandart was already in Galicia and that they do not let him return to Russia for political reasons. « 

Shtandart captain’s narrative

Michel Balique is the President of the association « Les Amis des Grands Voiliers » (Friends of Sailing Tall Ships). Following Michel Balique’s argument from authority (argumentum ab auctoritate), French Prime Minister (not Macron) granted Shtandart vessel with a derogation to the 5th package of sanctions (No access for Russian ships to French ports). We have good reasons to believe Michel Balique’s narrative was not carefully enough examined, at the proper level.
See: « Affaire Shtandart: réponse à Michel Balique, Président de l’association « Les Amis des Grands Voiliers » » – (Fr)

Coming from Greece, Shtandart could stop shortly in Cap d’Ail (31/03/2022 – 04/03/2022) and staid for a longer period in Port de Bouc (08/04/2022 – 05/05/2022), while it was prohibited to attend Sète maritime festival.

We guess Spanish government issued the same derogation than the French one. After Port de Bouc, Shtandart was able to sail to Pasia (26/05/2022 – 05/06/2022) and to attend a maritime festival there.

After Pasia, Shtandart intended to attend Bordeaux wine festival. Bordeaux authorities prohibited Shtandart’s access to this port.

The ship went to La Rochelle (08/06/2022 – 12/06/2022), where a movement against its presence started, mostly because of its instrumentation of relief to Ukrainian population and because of the blackmail and bullying of La Rochelle Ukrainians by Shtandart local « agent ».
See complaint from Ukrainian MP: « Letter from MP Oleksiy Goncharenko to the Mayor of La Rochelle concerning the Russian vessel Shtandart » – (Fr) – (Ukr).
See also the whole case presentation: « The scandal of the Russian ship “Shtandart” in the port of La Rochelle » (Fr) (Ukr)

Shtandart sailed from La Rochelle to BilbaoPortugalete (15/06/2022 – 19/06/2022) for another festival. Then it went back to La Rochelle (22/06/2022 – 06/07/2022). This time, it was not in the center of the city (bassin des chalutiers) anymore. It was hiding in the submarine basin of La Rochelle La Pallice. It was prohibited, by the authorities, to hoist its Russian flag. For quite a period of time it was doing short sailing trips for tourists.
See: « « Shtandart », a Russian ghost ship in La Rochelle? » (En) – (Fr)

On Wednesday July 6, 2022, Shtandart left La Rochelle for Brittany (Brest, Douarnenez or Camaret). Then on the 17th of July, Shtandart will sail to Vigo. We don’t know if it will be from Brittany or from La Rochelle. After Vigo, La Rochelle is supposed to be again its destination. Note that Shtandart was reported to maritime authorities for having illegally turned off its AIS identification system since June 6, 2022.
See: « Reporting to Maritime Authorities: Shandart, Russian tall ship, sailing in French territorial waters without AIS » (En) – (Fr)

A letter is being prepared for French Prime Minister to demand the cancellation of Shtandart derogation to European sanctions. It will present Michel Balique’s allegations as unsupported or irrelevant. The letter will be signed by some public figures and by major Ukrainian associations in France. It follows the submission of Shtandart’s derogation to Ukrainian presidential office and to Yermak-MCFaul experts group for infringement to sanctions.
See: « Report Russian Frigate Shtandart to Ukrainian Presidential Administration and Yermak-McFaul Commission for Potential Sanctions Violation » (Fr) – (Ukr)

Additionally, Lorient Mayor prohibited the Shtandart to access its next maritime festival « Lorient Oceans » because of the Russian war.

Aalborg and Esbjerg (Denmark), Antwerp (Belgium) and Arlingen (Netherlands) prohibited Shtandart to access their ports. Then, Shtandart will not attend the « Tall Ships Races ».

« He says that Russia has not allowed them to enter its territory since 2009 ».

Shtandart captain’s narrative

This is not true. There has been a litigation since 2008 because of ship property and money received from St Petersburg city for « Scarlet sails ».
See « The famous sailing ship hopes to get into a foreign register – it is impossible to agree with the Russian one » (Ru). (Ru)
But this litigation is solved since 2020.
See « The legendary frigate Shtandart may return to St. Petersburg from exile » (Ru). (Ru)
As a matter of fact Vladimir Martus staid in his home town, St Petersburg, in January/February 2022. Martus or his ship are, actually, not anti-Putin activists.
See « Sorry, Captain Martus, the “Shtandart” frigate is not an anti-putin ship. » – (En) – (Fr)

« The captain says that he refuses to abandon his Russian flag because he does not want to give up his country despite being at war. »

Shtandart captain’s narrative

It is his personal position. But there is a Russian war in Ukraine under the Russian flag. European countries agreed on banning Russian ship from their ports since April 18, 2022. Situation worsened recently because Moscow declared the French cultural attaché as « persona non grata », on June 19, 2022. That means the end of cultural relations between French and Russian flag. That means also that France is declared a country hostile to Russia. There is no point for granting Martus with a derogation to European sanctions for him to show the Russian flag in France.

By the way, Vladimir Martus perfectly knows that, nowadays, it is forbidden for him to hoist his Russian flag in La Rochelle. While he wants to make it his « port base ». If Vladimir Martus wants to display his Russian flag (which is not the white and blue one opposing to war), he can visit countries which did not condemn this war during March 2, 2022, UN General Assembly. He can also visit the numerous countries, which do not apply any sanctions on Russian vessels.

Update: letter to French Prime minister

On July 8, 2022, the letter demanding the end of Shtandart derogation to sanctions was sent to French Prime minister. It was signed by Oleh Sentsov, Roman Sushchenko and 30 Ukrainian institutions or organisations from France.

In English :
In Ukrainian :
In French :

Other articles about shtandart case in English and in Ukrainian


Publié par Bernard Grua

Graduated from Paris "Institut d'Etudes Politiques", financial auditor, photographer, founder and spokesperson of the worldwide movement which opposed to the delivery of Mitral invasion vessels to Putin's Russia, contributor to French and foreign media for culture, heritage and geopolitics.

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