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Russian oil tankers blocked at sea due to US sanctions

Russian oil tankers blocked at sea due to US sanctions Russian oil tankers are blocked at sea due to US sanctions (photo: GettyImages)

Four Russian oil tankers are stranded at sea following the US sanctions against Iran, according to Reuters.

Three fuel tankers, which were loading oil products in February-March, and a crude oil tanker, which loaded Russian oil in early April, fell under sanctions.

The large oil tanker Anthea loaded about 200,000 metric tons of Russian Urals oil in the Laconian Gulf near Greece through ship-to-ship transfers by two vessels at the end of March and is now anchored in the Suez Canal with oil on board, according to data from the LSEG.

According to the LSEG, the vessel has been anchored in the Suez Canal since early April.

Another vessel under sanctions - Elsa – took fuel oil on board in March via a ship-to-ship transfer near the Greek port of Kalamata, LSEG data shows.

In March, about 100,000 metric tons of fuel oil from the Russian ports of St. Petersburg and Ust-Luga were delivered to Kalamata.

Claire Jungman, chief of staff at US advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran, which tracks Iran-related tanker traffic via satellite data confirmed the movements of both vessels, adding that since 2021 Elsa has transported over 9 million barrels of Iranian crude or fuel oil to the UAE, Singapore and China.

Elsa has been at anchor off Singapore since early April, according to LSEG data.

The other vessel, Hebe, was loaded with 100,000 tons of fuel oil at the Russian Baltic ports of St Petersburg and Ust-Luga. The tanker is heading towards the Suez Canal, but the final destination is unclear yet.

The vessel Baxter loaded with naphtha at the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk was destined for India, according to LSEG data. The tanker has been drifting in the Arabian Sea since April 5, shipping data shows.

"These ships face major hurdles because of secondary sanctions. Ports worldwide are likely to deny them entry to avoid the repercussions of breaking these sanctions themselves ...," said Jungman.

Russian oil suppliers are unlikely to use these vessels or any provided by the shipping firm under sanctions now potentially tightening the already thin tonnage involved in Russian oil trades, a source in the Russian oil market said.

US sanctions against Iran

On April 4, the US imposed sanctions on tankers that were generating revenue for the Iranian military.

The sanctions targeted the company Oceanlink Maritime DMCC and its vessels, citing its role in shipping goods on behalf of Iranian military entities.

By the way, the US has also imposed sanctions on companies that have aided Iran in the production of kamikaze drones.