Thu Aug 21, 2014 6:38am EDT
Aug 21 (Reuters) - A "significant" amount of produce out at sea needs to be returned to its original senders after Russia imposed a ban on food imports from Western countries, a unit of A.P. Moller-Maersk said in a regular newsletter to shippers.
Maersk, the largest containerised shipper in the world through its Maersk Line unit and also a port terminal owner via APM Terminals, did not specify the number of vessels or volume of goods affected by the ban.
Russia imposed the ban earlier this month in retaliation against Western sanctions for its actions in Ukraine, where pro-Moscow rebels are battling government forces. The West accuses Russia of fuelling the rebellion, a charge Moscow denies.
"Maersk Line customers were completely unprepared for these sanctions and since they had effect immediately, a significant amount of cargo at sea needs to be returned," Maersk Line said in the note sent late on Wednesday.
A Maersk Line spokesman said the costs of returning goods does not lie with the shipping company but gave no further details.
Maersk, which also has oil production and drilling units, said it did not see a big negative impact from the turmoil in Ukraine and Russia's increasing isolation.
In fact, its shipping and terminal segments could benefit should Russia increase imports from Brazil.