Liverpool dockers refuse Russian oil
Plus: a recommended long read about a young man who died and the two friends who set up a men’s mental health café in his name
Dear readers — this week’s briefing brings news that Liverpool dockers refused Russian oil when a vessel docked at Birkenhead. We also have a beautiful home of the week in the conservation area of Huyton, and a photo of the Mersey taken last summer by a new photographer named Hannah Cassidy, whose work you will see more of on The Post.
Last week we published:
Harry Shukman’s report on seven Labour councillors breaking the whip to rebel against Joanne Anderson’s proposed budget and the tentative plans for a new political party.
A story about the huge humanitarian aid mission to get essentials from a Polish community centre in Walton to the Ukrainian border in Poland.
A weekend read about an addiction recovery programme for ex-military in Anfield.
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🌦 This week’s weather
The big story: Liverpool dockers refuse Russian oil
The top line: In February, a ship flying the German flag sailed from Primorsk, near St Petersburg. On Thursday, it docked at Tranmere oil terminal in Birkenhead, carrying 26,000 tonnes of Russian oil. Dock workers would normally unload the cargo. But the workers said no.
Context: The Times reported last week that 33% of UK imports come from Russian oilfields. In the third quarter of 2021, Russia earned around $63 billion from international oil and gas sales. Tranmere oil terminal handles 140 ships carrying 9 million tonnes of crude oil every year, which is then pumped to Stanlow Oil Refinery. Stanlow is the second largest oil refinery in the United Kingdom, with direct pipelines to Liverpool and Manchester airport, and supplies 16% of the UK’s road fuel.
Sanctions: Russian ships are banned from entering British ports under new sanctions on Russian economic interests. But this ban does not include cargo from Russia on non-Russian ships — ships like the Seacod, which was German-flagged, can avoid these restrictions. Unite the Union, who represent over 1,000 dock workers in Liverpool, informed the Stanlow oil refinery’s owner that its union members would “under no circumstances unload any Russian oil regardless of the nationality of the vessel which delivers it”.
Update: The dock workers at Tranmere gave no comment when The Post contacted them, and Unite the Union issued a statement calling for Grant Shapps “to close this loophole immediately”.
The bottom line: The ship is now just off the coast of Scotland, sailing north west. Earlier today, Jonathon Guthrie, associate editor of the FT, wrote that “sanctions are blowing holes in the Russian economy.” NPR reported that everyday Russians are starting to feel the impact of economic sanctions, with one shop assistant saying they’re raising prices every few hours.
Local news in brief
An 18-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder and possessing a controlled drug after a 15-year-old girl was shot at a bus in Toxteth. He will appear in court on Saturday. More here.
A Soviet flag spotted in the window of a student flat at Edge Hill University has been taken down. “This felt like a provocation,” the man who spotted it said. “After what is happening now with the Russians bombing women and children in Ukraine, this didn’t feel right.” More here.
Members of the combined authority backed Steve Rotheram’s plans to bring buses back under public control in a meeting last week. Rotheram said fixing the “broken, fragmented and too expensive” system was one of the main reasons he stood to be mayor. More here.
More CCTV coverage will be coming to city centre bus stations as part of the Home Office’s Safer Streets project, which aims to stop unwanted sexual behaviour on transport routes. More here.
Photo of the week
Gazing out to the Mersey. This photo was taken by the talented Wirral photographer Hannah Cassidy, whose work you will see more of on The Post. You can find more of Hannah’s work on Twitter here.
🎤 Celebrating Black Creatives, an evening of live music performances and a panel discussion, is on tomorrow night at Liverpool Slavery Museum. Book here.
🎬 For International Women’s Day, the cinema at FACT is showing Hive, a 2021 Albanian language film about widows who try to live independently after the Kosovo war. More here.
🥙 Wirral Farmers Market is back this Saturday with traditional farm produce, fresh vegetables and locally-sourced meat. More here.
🚶♂️There’s a men’s mental health walk along the New Brighton waterfront this Saturday. Organised by Jay, who has obsessive-compulsive disorder, the group aims to encourage men to open up about their mental health battles. More here.
🎁 The latest event as part of Knowsley’s turn as Borough of Culture is an artisan and craft market in Huyton this Saturday. More here.
📷 There’s a new exhibition at Rockpoint Pop-Up Gallery in New Brighton displaying old photos of Wallasey from 1955 onwards. Entry is free. More here.
📽 Some lovely old footage of Liverpool in 1901, which was filmed from the front of a tram. It takes you on a journey from the Pier Head into the commercial centre. Watch for free here.
🎶 Local poets and musicians are performing at Coffee and Fandisha in the Baltic Triangle on Thursday night. The night is focussed on being intimate and low-key and there will be homemade food available. Book here.
📰 Wirral History Fair is at Hulme Hall this Saturday. There will be a chance to learn more about Williamson Tunnels and refreshments will be available. More here.
Go deeper: Read our feature about Williamson Tunnels here.
Home of the week
This two-bedroom apartment in the conservation area of Huyton is on the market for £100,000. It was built as part of the development of the Victorian Villa estates on Victoria Road and Huyton Church Road after the railway opened in 1830.
Our favourite reads
A powerful article in BBC Newsbeat about the men’s mental health café in Runcorn, which was set up after Paul Humphries and Keelan Densmore lost their friend Curtis Enamu. Curtis died after taking ecstasy in 2018. He had considered suicide before, but the coroner didn’t confirm a motivation in his inquest. There were 13 suicides in Halton in that year, and 14 the following year. "The amount of young lads that have died in the past five, six years, is unacceptable,” Paul said.
A beautiful long read about Tom Wood’s Termini collection photographing the Mersey Ferries in the FT. “Wood’s photographs are full of human connections; some people are hugging, some are kissing, some are deep in a lover’s tiff, and some are just standing there, looking back at the camera or gazing into space; staring out across the water in silent recognition of one another.”
We liked revisiting Martin McNulty’s photography of the ‘80s dance scene in Liverpool in this recent interview in the British Culture Archive. “My first published work was for a Manchester magazine called Avant. This was the first time I photographed Quadrant Park which was based in a massive old warehouse in Bootle. It was a mad place really with people travelling from all over — it was just one big dance floor!”
This feature in the Telegraph talks about the risk that many reported side effects may actually be psychosomatic. Dan Carr, a pharmacologist and University of Liverpool researcher, says he’s observed a strange human propensity to subconsciously think ourselves unwell. “People also tend to have unfounded preconceptions about their risk of side effects,” Carr said. “For example, one in three people believe they are allergic to penicillin, but only 10 per cent of that one in three actually are.”
Letters from readers
I am pleased to see a media outlet in Liverpool that is built on traditional journalistic principles, Barry Kushner
Grown-up news with serious and interesting stories worthy of debate — and no clickbait. Proper good journalism, Richard MacDonald
Excellent piece and well researched! (‘The top shelf’) Richard Davies
This is tremendous on the decline of — and need for — local media. (‘A video of 1970s Liverpool - and the case for a new local newspaper’) No Helmets Required