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29 Nov, 2023 13:17

Russian tanker stranded off Indian coast due to Western sanctions – Bloomberg

The Sovcomflot-owned vessel was due to be unloaded at the Vadinar port last Saturday
Russian tanker stranded off Indian coast due to Western sanctions – Bloomberg

A Russian oil tanker is unable to unload its cargo due to the latest US sanctions and has been drifting in Indian waters for over ten days, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

The Liberia-flagged vessel, which is owned by Russia’s Sovcomflot, started its journey from South Korea’s Yeosu in late October and was heading to the Indian port of Vadinar to deliver Russian Sokol crude, according to the report. However, the tanker, named NS Century, was stopped some 1,600 miles from the port earlier this month after the US added it to its sanctions list for allegedly breaching the price cap. The EU and G7 countries imposed a $60 per-barrel ceiling on Russian seaborne crude in December 2022.

The cargo being carried by the tanker is intended for Indian Oil Corp, the country’s largest refiner, Reuters reported, citing data from the London Stock Exchange and Kpler. The company buys Sokol crude under an annual contract with Russian oil major Rosneft.

According to India’s Directorate General of Shipping, it was awaiting instructions from New Delhi on whether to let the tanker dock and unload its cargo. Indian Oil didn’t respond to a Bloomberg request for comment.

India’s consumption of Russian crude has soared since last year. Moscow has been redirecting exports to Asian markets after losing its traditional buyers in the West due to Ukraine-related sanctions. However, the US has been trying to close loopholes in the restrictions, and in October started to impose sanctions on oil tankers and maritime companies for shipping Russian oil sold above the price cap.

According to market experts who spoke to Reuters, while these new restrictions may reduce the number of ships carrying Russian oil in the short term, they are unlikely to be a serious impediment to Russia’s oil trade with India given its profitability for both countries.

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