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Russia renaming US-sanctioned oil tankers - Bloomberg

Russia renaming US-sanctioned oil tankers - Bloomberg Photo: Russia renamed the tankers that came under US sanctions (Getty Images)

The Russian state-owned oil tanker company Sovcomflot renamed some of its vessels after cities in the country following US sanctions, Bloomberg informs.

In February, as part of the US measures marking the second anniversary of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Sovcomflot came under sanctions. Fourteen of its tankers were also added to the US Treasury Department's list of named vessels, bringing the total number of such tankers to 21.

In addition to establishing a shadow fleet of vessels for oil transportation while under Western sanctions, Russia heavily relies on the giant tanker fleet of Sovcomflot to ensure oil supplies. According to Clarkson Research Services Ltd., a leading global shipbroker, the company remains the world's largest owner of Aframax-class tankers, each capable of carrying approximately 700,000 barrels of oil.

Currently, the tankers have also changed their flags from Gabonese to Russian, which will give Moscow greater confidence in how it can utilize them. Renaming will make the connection of the vessels to Russia more apparent.

According to Bloomberg, at least four tankers from Gabon have changed their names and come under the Russian flag:

Росія перейменовує нафтові танкери, які потрапили під санкції США, - Bloomberg

Tankers often change their names after being subjected to sanctions in order to distance themselves from lists in sanction databases, although they can still be identified by their unique and unchanging numbers registered with the International Maritime Organization.

In February, the US Department of the Treasury imposed sanctions on the state-owned Russian tanker group Sovcomflot. This decision was made to reduce Kremlin revenues from oil sales, which it could use to support the invasion of Ukraine.