Finland’s decision to bar Russia’s Kruzenshtern barque from docking at the port of Mariehamn, located on the Aland Islands, is unjustified, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.
“We regret the Finnish authorities’ decision to bar the training ship from docking at the port of Mariehamn, the Aland Islands, on September 18-20, as it was planned, despite the invitation from the city administration,” she said. “This unjustified decision seems strange, since only several weeks ago, the ship visited the Finnish ports of Kotka and Turku during The Tall Ships Races,” Zakharova pointed out. According to the Russian diplomat, “the residents of the Aland Islands have been deprived of the opportunity to see the legendary barque, which always sparks interest, no matter what port it docks at.”
The Hufvudstadsbladet daily reported about the ban on the Russian ship’s visit to Mariehamn on Monday. Finland’s Army Communications Chief Eero Karhuvaara said that the Finnish Defense Forces would not comment on the decision. A thing to note is that in the summer 2017, the Kruzenshtern visited Finland’s Kotka and Turku without facing any issues.
The Kruzenshtern, a four-masted barque, was built in Bremerhaven, Germany, in 1926 as the Padua. In 1945, she was surrendered to the Soviet Union as war reparation and renamed after 19th-century Russian admiral and explorer of Baltic Ivan Kruzenshtern.
The Kruzenshtern has been used as a training ship in the past years. Over its 90-year history, the barque has made two round-the-globe voyages, as well as a trans-Atlantic expedition, and won many sailing races, covering an overall distance of 1.3 million nautical miles.
On August 22, the Kruzenshtern, carrying 120 students of seven naval schools from Kaliningrad, Kerch, Yeysk and Astrakhan onboard (ten of them are girls), sailed off from Russia’s westernmost port of Kaliningrad for its third and final voyage of 2017. The ship is expected to return home on September 24.