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Poland bars Russian tall ship Sedov from its territorial waters

Earlier this week, Estonia refused to let the Russian training ship enter its waters because cadets from Crimea were onboard
The Sedov barque Lev Fedoseyev/TASS
The Sedov barque
© Lev Fedoseyev/TASS

WARSAW, April 13. /TASS/. The Polish government has denied entry to its territorial waters to the Russian tall ship Sedov with Crimean naval cadets on board, Polish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ewa Suwara said.

"The prime minister’s decision has been negative," she said. "We believe that allowing the Russian tall ship enter Poland’s territorial waters would contradict its policy of respecting the territorial integrity of Ukraine."

Earlier this week, Estonian authorities refused to let the Russian training ship enter Estonia’s territorial waters, saying that cadets from the Crimea-based Kerch State Maritime Technological University were onboard. On Wednesday, Russia’s embassy in Tallinn described the move as "an unfriendly step taken by the Estonian authorities in the run-up to the Estonian president’s upcoming visit to Moscow."

After its port call in Estonia has been cancelled, the ship planned to replenish its supplies of fuel, food and water in the Polish port city of Gdynia.

The Sedov barque, originally named the Magdalene Vinnen II, was launched in Kiel in 1921 at Germany’s Friedrich Krupp Germaniwrft. She was used as a cargo ship voyaging from Europe to South America, Australia, South East Asia and Oceania. In 1936, the Magdalene Vinnen II was sold to Norddeutscher Lloyd, Bremen and renamed the Kommodore Johnsen. The new owner modified it to a cargo-carrying training ship, and apart from its permanent crew, the ship was to have 50 to 60 trainee officers aboard on each journey.

She came under Russian state ownership after the surrender of Germany, on December 20, 1945, when the British handed over the ship to the Soviet Union as war reparation. In the Soviet Union, she was converted into a sail training vessel of the Soviet Navy. She was renamed the Sedov after the Arctic explorer Georgy Sedov who died during an Arctic expedition in 1914.

The barque is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the biggest training tall ship. She has taken a round-the-world voyage, embarked on high-latitude Arctic expeditions and competed in major regattas. The Sedov set the world’s official speed record of 18.32 knots for the same-class sailing ships.