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What's the Z? Is the ship in Narragansett Bay supporting Russia's invasion of Ukraine?

What's the Z? Is the ship in Narragansett Bay supporting Russia's invasion of Ukraine?
Paul Edward Parker March 16, 2022

Have you seen the tanker ship anchored just north of the Pell Bridge with the big "Z" freshly painted on its smokestack?

Those who are up on current events know that "Z" has become a symbol for those who support Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

A lot of people have taken to Facebook and Twitter and elsewhere online to wonder about the 600-foot oil tanker, called Galassis, parked in Rhode Island waters.

One of them is Mike Ritz, executive director of Leadership Rhode Island, who was alerted to the vessel's presence by a professor at the Naval War College who had gone through Leadership RI's program.

"Well, what's going on with that?" Ritz asked The Providence Journal in an interview Wednesday, after emailing the paper about the ship. "The port authority could refuse [to let] it dock if it's really a Russian ship."

"Should we meet at the tavern?" Ritz asked.

He was referring to Sabin Tavern, in Providence, where Colonial Rhode Islanders plotted how to welcome another ship to Narragansett Bay: the British customs schooner Gaspee, which, of course, they burned to the waterline in 1772.

The Galissas is Greek, not Russian

Before you grab your pitchfork, though, a few additional facts:

The Galissas, which has been in Narragansett Bay about two weeks now, is Greek, not Russian.

And the freshly painted "Z"?

It's the corporate logo of the ship's owner, Zeus Lines Management, which recently acquired the tanker. While an exact date of sale couldn't be confirmed immediately, it's so recent that online ship-tracking services still list its previous owner: Benetech Shipping, also a Greek company.