Japanese media Nikkei Asia claimed that secret shipments of Russian oil were reaching Europe despite Western sanctions against Moscow for its war in Ukraine.
Since the start of the war on February 24, no less than 41 vessels have carried out ship-to-ship oil transfers off the coast of Greece with tankers leaving Russia and then arriving in European ports.
The report further states that Western countries have imposed sanctions to isolate Russia, but if the shipment of Russian oil continues, the effects of the sanctions will be limited.
An oil transfer was observed in the Gulf of Laconia in southern Greece, and the transfer took place between the Greek-registered Sea Falcon and the Indian-flagged Jak Log, he said.
The story included video footage from the site.
From a civilian boat, journalist Riho Nagao said she was heading for Greek territorial waters, where ship-to-ship oil transfers were taking place. She marked the Gulf of Laconia on the map of the electronic tablet in her hand.
Noting that the gulf is outside Greek territorial waters, Nagao said many boats have gathered in the area for the same purpose.
“There seems to be a lot of ship-to-ship oil transfer in the Laconian Gulf and the locals are afraid of environmental destruction.”
Looking for an answer to the question “Where does the oil go?” Nikkei Asia said it looked at data from Refinitiv, a financial market data provider, to determine the route of tankers that left Russian ports and which vessels contacted them.
The data covered the waters off the Mediterranean coast of Greece, where ship-to-ship transfers occur frequently. The vessels’ automatic identification system (AIS) signals were monitored to identify their routes.
The evolution of ships’ draft, the distance between the waterline and the bottom of the hull, which increases when a ship is heavily loaded, was checked to determine the number of ship-to-ship transfers.
Ships to European ports
Nikkei Asia said it detected 175 transfers, including tankers from Russia, off the coast of Greece in the six months to the end of August, compared to just nine such transfers in the same period the last year.
According to Refinitiv, Russia exported 23.8 million barrels of oil for ship-to-ship transfers off the coast of Greece, compared to 4.34 million barrels in the same period last year.
The routes of the tankers were tracked and it was determined that 89 tankers arrived at the ports – including 41 anchored in Greece, Belgium and elsewhere in Europe.
It has been revealed that the waters near Greece are an important hub for oil shipments between Russia and Europe.
The EU will completely ban the import of Russian oil in February 2023. The UK will impose a full embargo on Russian oil in December.
Russian oil exports to the EU amounted to 2.8 million barrels in July, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). This was recorded as a 26% drop from January.
As the EU and UK plan to completely ban the import of Russian oil by the end of 2022, companies that continue to buy Russian oil are facing criticism.
* Written by Seda Sevencan
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