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Mixed success for sanctions against Bermuda-registered Russian planes

Lawrence Scott, the transport minister (File Photograph)

Sanctions against the owners of Russian airliners registered in Bermuda have had “mixed success”, the transport minister admitted yesterday.

But Lawrence Scott insisted the island’s shipping registry had not been affected by the international restrictions brought in to punish Moscow for its illegal invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Scott said: “The situation regarding the sanctions remains fluid. To date the Bermuda Shipping and Maritime Authority has not been impacted.

“However, I cannot say the same for the Bermuda Civil Aviation Authority Aircraft Registry.

“Lessors continue to terminate aircraft leases and make attempts to retrieve the aircraft.

“However, there has been mixed success due to the level of co-operation with the states in which the aircraft are located at the time.”

Mr Scott added that more than 700 Russian-based aircraft were listed on the Bermuda Aircraft Registry.

He said: “From midnight on 8 March 2022 Moscow time, the Russian government recommended that Russian airlines that have aircraft registered in foreign countries, under a leasing agreement with a foreign organisation temporarily suspend the transport of passengers and cargo from the territory of foreign countries to the territory of Russia.

“On 12 March 2022, the BCAA published an International sanctions press release advising that international sanctions on the aviation sector have had a significant impact on the ability to sustain safety oversight on 700 plus Russian operated aircraft on the Bermuda Aircraft Registry.

“The airworthiness system has been restricted to the point that the authority was unable to confidently approve the aircraft as being airworthy.

Mr Scott added the BCAA provisionally suspended on Saturday all certificates of airworthiness of aircraft operating under the agreement between Bermuda and the Russian Federation.

He said that meant that any provisional suspension would take effect on any aircraft airborne at 9pm Bermuda time last Saturday as soon as they landed.

Mr Scott added: “BCAA will provide updates on their website as new information is available.”

The European Union’s sanctions allow the provision of insurance or reinsurance to leasing companies for aircraft and engines until March 28.

Mr Scott said: “This is subject to operating or finance lease arrangements signed before February 28, including when such aircraft or engine is used in Russia or leased to a Russian person.

“The window of opportunity for lessors and owners to retrieve their aircraft is rapidly closing. Both authorities are closely monitoring the situation.”

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Published March 15, 2022 at 9:30 am (Updated March 15, 2022 at 7:52 am)

Mixed success for sanctions against Bermuda-registered Russian planes

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