Damen Shipyards has launched legal action against the Dutch state after suffering losses from European Union sanctions imposed on Russia.

The shipbuilder said it is seeking compensation for damages following the loss of orders from Russian owners.

This is according to company spokesman Rick van de Weg, who confirmed the move to Reuters.

He said the yard group had contracts for a number of ships across its portfolio that had to be torn up when sanctions were introduced following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Van de Weg added that Damen also had an engineering office in Russia, but cut ties with the operation after the war began.

The company has not commented on the exact number of contracts or the amount of compensation it is claiming.

In March 2022, less than a month after the invasion, Damen said it would not deliver new vessels to Russia.

The group also pledged not to accept new deals.

The decision was expected to have a “firm impact” on its finances, a spokesperson said at the time.

‘‘Significant’ number of deals scrapped

Damen described the number of ships involved then as “significant”.

UK shipbroker Clarksons listed 41 tugs, platform supply vessels, crew boats and ferries being built at Damen Gorinchem in the Netherlands at that point.

Many of the clients were not known, but five tugs were due for delivery to Russian state atomic agency Rosatom in October 2022.

Dutch media said a number of workboats and trawlers were also under contract from Russian companies.

“It is a significant part of our turnover that we derive from that region. So it was not a light decision,” a spokesperson was cited as saying.

Damen also had to take care of staff at a Ukrainian design base in Mykolaev, a city which is under siege.

The group’s engineering office opened in the Russian city of St Petersburg in 2019.

This was described as employing 33 trained and experienced shipbuilders from top Russian universities.