Like much of the world, Sail Training International said it is shocked and saddened by the events currently unfolding in Ukraine and wishes for a swift end to hostilities and violence.
In light of these events, STI has been in discussion with the Host Port partners of The Tall Ships Races 2022 to assess the impact upon its organisation, relating to fleet participation and port access in particular.
Following these discussions, the Host Ports of The Tall Ships Races 2022 and Sail Training International decided that, as the current situation stands, Russian ships will not be permitted to enter the event.
STI stated: ‘It is with deep regret we have come to this conclusion and will continue to review the situation as it develops.’
Although there were only likely to be two Russian entries this year – the replica Shtandart and the full rigged Mir – Russian tall ships have always been a big draw at these events, with Sedov and Kruzenshtern, the biggest sail training vessels afloat, being regular participants.
Ukraine had two tall ships: Khersones, which was based in the Crimea and is now under a Russian ensign, and her sistership Druzhba, which has not been active at all in the 21st century and is reckoned to be in poor condition. She is in Odessa port, one of the target ports for the Russian invasion.
The international aspect of the tall ships races is seen as important in fostering mutual respect and understanding between nations and Russian tall ships have competed since the mid 1970s which was during the Soviet era.
Photo and report by Max Mudie