Largest Dutch shipbuilder sues government over Russia sanction losses

10:35 07.10.2023 •

Boats sit docked beside a Damen shipyard in Gorinchem.
Photo: Bloomberg

Dutch company seeking compensation in case against government. ‘Damen’ says it ‘suffers damages’ as a result of sanctions, Bloomberg informs.

The Netherlands’ largest shipbuilder is suing the Dutch government for losses inflicted on its business by sanctions against Russia, a rare instance of a European company taking its grievances to court over the corporate fallout from the invasion of Ukraine.

Damen Shipyards Group NV is seeking compensation because it “suffers damages” as a result of sanctions, the company’s spokesperson, Rick van de Weg, told Bloomberg. The case hasn’t been publicly disclosed until now.

“Before the sanctions, Damen had signed contracts with Russian ship buyers, and after the invasion of Ukraine the Dutch government decided that such contracts may not be honored by the Dutch business community,” he said via email. “The government has not offered Damen compensation for that damage.”

The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which is in charge of the country’s sanctions oversight, declined to comment. As a member of the European Union, the Netherlands must comply with all the curbs imposed by the bloc.

The legal challenge will add a new twist to courtroom battles playing out over the sanctions by focusing attention on the toll taken on businesses that catered to a market once considered among the most promising in the emerging world.

Damen Shipyards is a family-owned Dutch company founded in 1927 that builds a range of vessels, from warships to dredgers.

It’s also been selling luxury yachts to the ultra-rich, including prominent Russian businessmen. The company wouldn’t comment on its clients.

The war was “having a major impact” on the company, according to a statement last year. Within a week after the invasion, Damen said it had suspended the delivery of vessels and the signing of new contracts with Russian and Belarusian clients.


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