ROBERT FIFE, STEVEN CHASE
PUBLISHED 18 MINUTES AGO
Ottawa is banning Russian-owned and registered ships from Canadian ports and waters.
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said Tuesday that the ban will take effect later this week through orders under Canada’s Special Economic Measures Act.
“We are taking steps to close Canadian ports and internal waters to Russian-owned or registered ships. The Government of Canada condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and we will continue to take action to stand with Ukraine,” he said in a statement.
The move comes after Canada banned Aeroflot, the Russian airliner, from Canadian airspace.
The Canadian Coast Guard has been instructed to stop Russian ships from entering Canadian waters.
Britain also announced on Tuesday it had passed a law that would ban all ships that have any connection to Russia from entering its ports. European Union countries are also considering a ban on Russian ships from their ports as the West tightens economic sanctions on Moscow for its war of aggression against Ukraine.
Former Royal Canadian Navy Vice-Admiral Mark Norman said Canada can easily track Russian ships if they have their automatic tracking systems on. If the Russians turn off the tracking system, Canada can use satellites and surveillance aircraft to identify Russian vessels.
“If necessary, it may require some degree of enforcement which would require having either coast guard [or] navy vessels,” he said.
Mr. Norman said he didn’t think there were a lot of Russian vessels in Canadian waters, but other shipping companies may be working for Russia.
“What other ship owners are acting on behalf of Russian commercial interests… ? It doesn’t have to be a Russian ship to supporting Russian commercial activity,” he said. “So if you want to shut down Russian commercial activity then you may have to look more broadly at vessels carrying Russian cargo.”
More to come.