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U.S. imposes sanctions on 17 tankers for transporting Russian oil

U.S. imposes sanctions on 17 tankers for transporting Russian oil Photo: U.S. imposes sanctions on 17 tankers for transporting Russian oil (Getty Images)

The United States has imposed new sanctions on the transportation of Russian oil today, January 18th, affecting nearly 20 tankers, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is taking the first measures in 2024 to enforce restrictions on oil prices aimed at a shipping company associated with price limit violations.

"Today’s actions once again demonstrate that anyone who violates the price cap will face the consequences," said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo.

The sanctioned entity

The shipping company, Hennesea Holdings Limited (Hennesea), based in the United Arab Emirates, is the ultimate owner of 18 vessels, including the HS Atlantica, previously identified by OFAC as involved in transporting Russian crude oil at a price higher than $60 per barrel.

Hennesea, established at the end of 2022, purchased older tankers transporting Russian crude oil and petroleum products shortly before the price restrictions took effect. Tankers owned by Hennesea have repeatedly entered Russian Federation ports.

It is noted that 17 tankers owned by this company are also subject to the restrictions.

Strengthening of sanctions

Recall that Western sanctions led to half of Russia's oil and oil product exports in 2023 going to China, while India's share increased to 40% over two years. Europe's share in Russia's oil exports dropped approximately tenfold to about 4-5% from around 40-45%.

Russian oil flows faced difficulties after the intensified U.S. sanctions targeting traders and shipping companies. Signs emerged just weeks after the U.S. Department of the Treasury imposed the most extensive sanctions against Russian oil traders and the state-owned shipping company Sovcomflot since the beginning of the war against Ukraine.

Recently, Reuters reported that additional U.S. measures to control steel exports for Russian oil have lowered the price Russia can obtain for its oil on global markets, reducing Kremlin revenues for the war in Ukraine.