UK shipping public relations firm Navigate has revealed it has stopped working with Russian state-controlled shipowner Sovcomflot (SCF Group).

Following the imposition of sanctions on the giant tanker and LNG carrier company following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Navigate director Bill Lines told TradeWinds the contract was terminated earlier this week.

A slew of western public relations firms and other advisers have cut links with both sanctioned and other Russian companies and entities in recent days, as the full horror of Russia’s unprovoked attack has become clear.

“Navigate no longer handles media relations for Sovcomflot,” Lines confirmed.

“In light of Russia’s actions in Ukraine, we felt it unconscionable to represent an organisation majority-owned by the Russian government,” he said.

“This is a source of great regret: Sovcomflot is an extremely professional and well-run shipping company with an advanced modern fleet which lifts cargoes for a huge range of international interests,” Lines added.

The director also said the company does not represent any other Russian or Belorussian clients.

Navigate PR consultant Bill Spears was the public face of Sovcomflot to the English-speaking media for years, representing the shipowner through the mammoth London corruption trial involving private shipowner Yuri Nikitin that ended in 2010.

Sovcomflot has said it is carrying on with its activities despite a raft of sanctions unleashed against Russian entities.

In a brief statement to TradeWinds, Sovcomflot said on 25 February: “The company continues its normal business activity and is well-positioned to meet its commitments towards its clients and partners and provide safe shipping services.”

The owner was one of 13 of the “most critical major Russian enterprises and entities” sanctioned by the US following the invasion.

The Sovcomflot aframax tanker, the 106,000-dwt NS Challenger (built 2005), became the subject of questions in the UK parliament after it loaded at Sullom Voe in the Shetland Islands the day before sanctions were imposed.