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Leading Greek shipowners denounce sanctions ‘failure’

George Prokopiou and Evangelos Marinakis claim sanctions against Russia will prove counter-productive. The EU transport commissioner Adina Valean denied this was the case

‘Instead of penalising Russia, we are penalising ourselves,’ says Marinakis

LEADING Greek shipowner George Prokopiou has called on politicians to at least be clearer when it comes to imposing sanctions, which he described as generally being useless or counterproductive.

“Sanctions have never worked,” Mr Prokopiou said in a panel discussion at the Capital Link conference at Posidonia. “The Iranians became stronger and more resilient, and more self-sufficient. The Venezuelans suffered, but the rich had a good time.”

“My recommendation — my demand — is at least be clearer about what is allowed and what is not, what is legal and what is not legal. We live in a grey area all the time.”

Mr Prokopiou also said that this sometimes had the effect of restricting shipping and trade more than may have been intended.

“We see banks and insurers being more strict than what the legislation provides for.”

Mr Prokopiou is the founder of Dynacom Tankers, dry bulk company Sea Traders and liquefied natural gas carrier owner Dynagas, which is the sponsor of Nasdaq-listed Dynagas Partners, which has a high exposure to Russia-linked charterers Gazprom and Yamal.

He described Russia’s incursion into Ukraine as “the biggest miscalculation of the century” and “a tragedy for humanity”.

Earlier, one of his compatriots voiced a similarly negative view of the deployment of sanctions to punish Russia.

“I think European leaders are making a mistake,” said Evangelos Marinakis, founder of Capital Maritime & Trading, Capital Product Partners and Capital Gas.

The west was discussing more sanctions “instead of trying to find a peaceful solution and help our economies”.

“At the end of the day, it is the consumers who are paying the price. On the other hand, Russia is selling oil at a heavy discount to China and India, and they are selling refined products back to Europe at sky-high prices,” he said. “Instead of penalising Russia, we are penalising ourselves.

“Sooner or later we will see the consequences,” he said, predicting “a huge recession in front of us”.

European Union transport commissioner Adina Valean denied Brussels’ use of sanctions against Russia was misguided.

She said Russian oil exports would be further disrupted by the latest package, which is aimed at cutting off insurance cover for ships carrying Russian oil.

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