Russian oil flows to EU via hidden maritime routes – Nikkei
Over the past six months, dozens of vessels have made ship-to-ship transfers of oil off the coast of Greece with tankers that left Russia and later arrived at European ports, business daily Nikkei reported on Wednesday. Its analysis showed there was only one such vessel last year.
“Transferring oil between ships at sea to hide its origin may continue even after the oil embargo takes effect,” the newspaper said.
It further revealed that on August 24, it photographed the transfer of oil from one tanker to another in the Laconian Gulf near southern Greece. One tanker reportedly was the Greek-registered Sea Falcon, which left the Port of Ust-Luga in northwestern Russia on August 4. The other was the Indian-flagged Jag Lok, which departed from the Turkish Port of Aliaga, also on August 4. Small boats surrounded the tankers, assisting with the transfer, according to the report.
Over the six months through August 22, Nikkei has confirmed 175 transfers off the Greek coast involving tankers from Russia. There were only nine such transfers during the same period last year, it said. Refinitiv data shows that Russia exported 23.86 million barrels of oil for ship-to-ship transfers off Greece. During the same period last year, 4.34 million barrels were shipped for similar transfers.
Nikkei tracked the routes of the ships, confirming that 89 tankers arrived at ports, compared with only three such arrivals in 2021. Of those, 41 arrived at ports in Greece, Belgium, and elsewhere in Europe, it wrote, noting that two tankers made port calls in Britain.
The analysis highlighted the crucial role that the waters near Greece play as a hub for oil shipments between Russia and Europe.
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