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  • US sanctions against Russian tankers: most vessels are idle

    Опубликовано: 2024-05-22 09:30:14

    The sanctions imposed by the US Treasury Department against Russian oil tankers have proved to be extremely effective: most vessels have been idle for several months. This suggests that the United States can seriously affect oil supplies from Russia if it wishes. This was reported by Bloomberg.

    Since October, 40 vessels involved in the Russian oil trade have been added to the US sanctions list. The main reason for inclusion in the list was a violation of the price limit set to restrict the Kremlin's access to oil revenues.

    Of all the sanctioned vessels, only one, the SCF Primorye, was able to load after being placed under sanctions. If this vessel unloads without any problems, Russia may again try to use more tankers to export oil.

    Although Western sanctions are often criticized for the fact that Moscow allegedly easily circumvents them, the inactivity of sanctioned vessels suggests otherwise. In particular, 21 of the 40 tankers belong to the Russian state-owned shipping company Sovcomflot, and the remaining 19 are controlled by Hennesea Holdings Ltd from the United Arab Emirates.

    Interestingly, these vessels make up only a small part of Russia's “shadow fleet,” which Moscow has created through a network of shell companies to circumvent G7 sanctions.

    One of the vessels, the Turkish Yasa Golden Bosphorus, was removed from the sanctions list in April, allowing it to use international insurance again. After the exemption, the vessel loaded up with American oil, but is currently anchored off the coast of Texas.

    Other vessels that remain under sanctions do not carry out transportation and are located in different parts of the world. For example, eight Sovcomflot tankers have been anchored near the Russian Pacific ports of Vladivostok and Nakhodka for about five months. Another seven Sovcomflot tankers are concentrated in the Black Sea.

    In the Baltic Sea, three Sovcomflot tankers are also idle: two near the export terminal in Ust-Luga and one off the coast of Estonia.

    As of now, 18 Hennesea tankers have also been inactive since being sanctioned in January. Ten of them are off the coasts of China and South Korea, and the rest are in the eastern Mediterranean near Port Said.

    Some of these tankers have even given false signals about their location. For example, the tanker Sensus was “located” on the taxiway of Beirut airport on May 17. Other signals showed tankers at Cairo airport.

    It is worth noting that at least 10 Sovcomflot tankers and five Hennesea tankers have renamed themselves and changed their flags. Sovcomflot now flies the Russian flag, while Hennesea flies the flag of Eswatini, a landlocked South African country. This practice of changing names and flags is common to make it harder to identify sanctioned vessels.


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