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Sanctions against Russia: Emirates prohibited servicing Cameroon-flagged oil tankers

Sanctions against Russia: Emirates prohibited servicing Cameroon-flagged oil tankers Photo: Russia will not be able to transport oil by Cameroon-flagged tankers through the UAE (Getty Images)

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) have banned Cameroon-flagged tankers from entering their waters. The decision aims to safeguard the emirates from receiving vessels involved in transporting sanctioned Russian oil, according to Bloomberg.

According to a circular from the Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure of the UAE on the Fujairah Port website, maritime companies and ship agents are prohibited from providing services to vessels registered in Cameroon. The ban does not apply to vessels that have undergone assessment by a broader international classification body.

Most commercial vessels sail under the flags of distant countries they own or operate. The most popular ones include Panama and the Marshall Islands, integral to shipping safety standards. However, as Russia assembled a significant shadow fleet of tankers to transport its oil amid U.S. sanctions, a portion of it shifted to flags of lesser-known countries, such as Cameroon.

In mid-2023, Cameroon was identified as a country with a high risk that vessels flying its flag would not pass safety inspections when entering ports. The registered fleet of oil tankers in this country is relatively small, but most of them have visited Russia in the past year.

According to industry data compiled by Bloomberg, Cameroon has 14 oil tanker vessels, which are sufficiently small, making them unsuitable for loading oil from Russian ports. Nevertheless, over the past year, 11 vessels under the flag of Cameroon have transported Russian oil. These vessels account for less than 1% of the total volume of oil shipments to Russia.

The embargo on the import of Russian oil by Western countries

In March 2022, the United States imposed a complete ban on the import of Russian oil due to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

In December 2022, a similar decision was made by the European Union.

The sanctions imposed by Western countries resulted in half of Russian oil and petroleum product exports in 2023 going to China, while India's share increased to 40% over two years. Europe's share in Russian oil exports plummeted tenfold, dropping from approximately 40-45% to around 4-5%.

The price cap imposed on Russian oil in December 2023 at $60 per barrel reduced Kremlin revenues by 14%.