The first Russian oil tanker to try to deliver crude oil under US sanctions transferred the secret cargo onto another vessel, a sign of how Moscow is undermining the effectiveness of US sanctions on its fleet. Is.

Russian oil tanker moves secret cargo near Singapore to avoid US sanctions.

SCF Primorye was sanctioned by the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control in October, after which it did not load oil again for nearly six months. But in late April, the tanker docked at the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk and collected a cargo of Urals crude at a point 70 miles east of Singapore before setting off on the 7,500-mile journey.

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Russia has shipped about 3.4 million barrels a day of crude oil so far this year, worth about $37 billion at the point of export, and has been part of working around Western sanctions. The state budget saw a nearly 50 percent increase in oil revenue in May from a year earlier, as crude prices rose and the nation embraced the measures. Nevertheless, the SCF Primorye involving conflicting logistics shows that there are barriers to trade.

Shortly after arriving east of Singapore, the 900-foot tanker disappeared from the Automatic Identification System, or AIS, where merchant ships broadcast their locations and destinations for security reasons. AIS can be turned off by the ship’s crew.

However, after it disappeared, satellite images showed that the ship had transferred its cargo to another ship, the Ocean Hermana, on 3 June. A secret transfer would in theory help the person buying the oil to distance themselves from dealing with an approved vessel. Risk of further actions from the Treasury. Identifying the receiving ship makes it difficult to hide the origin of the cargo.

SCF Primorye, which held about 1 million barrels of oil, is owned by Russia’s state-owned oil tanker company Sovcomflot PJSC. The company declined to comment.

The two ships were identified by Bloomberg based on their dimensions, deck layout and color. Both were identified by Inc. , which specializes in interpreting satellite images to locate tankers that breach sanctions.

Ocean Hermana is about 20 years old and with an unknown insurer. It has spent most of its recent history between Singapore and points around the Straits of Malacca and ports in China.

Equasis, a database established to promote safe shipping, indicates that its operator is a Kolkata-based company called Sygnius Ship Management Pvt. The company said via email that this was incorrect and that its only role was that of an agent for the ship’s crew. He did not immediately respond to follow-up questions.

Whether the cargo is eventually delivered to a refinery – most likely given the transfer point is in China – will provide an indication of how easily Russia can repeat the process with its other approved vessels. may be able. Since October, nearly all 40 OFAC-sanctioned tankers have failed to load cargo and only one has been removed from the list of designated vessels. Not all are owned by Sovcomflot.

Bloomberg tracked SCF Primorye’s movements on AIS and then, when it disappeared from the system, examined edited Copernicus Sentinel data, processed with the EO browser from the Sentinel Hub.

The SCF Primorye has now resumed its voyage, heading northeast through the South China Sea and displaying a draft that indicates it is now empty. The last signal from Ocean Hermana was on June 10, from where the cargo was transferred. Its draft indicates that the ship’s cargo tanks are now full.

Another sanctioned vessel, the Bratsk, is already plying the SCF Primorye route. It is now in the Indian Ocean, carrying a cargo of Ural crude oil and was brought into Novorossiysk on 23 May, and was due to arrive in Singapore on 17 June.

More approved tankers owned by Russia’s Sovcomflot PJSC may follow. Another seven disappeared from tracking after entering the Black Sea. They are likely still there, as regulations require them to send automatic position signals when passing through the Turkish Straits, making it difficult for them to navigate the Mediterranean.

This article was generated from an automated news agency feed without text editing.

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