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Russia Expresses Concern Over Oil Tanker Jam Offshore Turkey

Russia is discussing the traffic jam of oil tankers off Turkey’s coasts with shipping and insurance companies as it is concerned that the situation will affect its operators, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said on Wednesday, as carried by Russian agency RIA Novosti.

Many oil tankers have dropped anchor near the key Turkish straits connecting the Black Sea with the Mediterranean, waiting for clearance from Turkish authorities who now demand new proof of insurance cover for tankers as the EU embargo and the EU-G7 price cap on Russian crude came into effect. 

“We are aware of this situation. Of course, we are worried because the interests of our operators could be impacted,” Grushko was quoted as saying.

The issue is currently being discussed with transportation and insurance companies, the official added.

Insurance companies, not the Russian state, are dealing with the insurance of tankers, Grushko said, adding that if the issue isn’t resolved, it would be escalated to seek involvement at a political level.

Some 20 tankers, most of which were carrying Kazakhstani—not Russian—crude, were waiting offshore Turkey on Monday, the Financial Times reported earlier this week, quoting shipbrokers, tanker-tracking services, and oil traders.

Turkey now demands new proof of insurance coverage for tankers passing through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits, the main waterways linking the Black Sea with the Mediterranean. Most of the oil now sitting on tankers off Turkey is from Kazakhstan, shipbrokers told FT.

Kazakhstan ships its crude from Russian ports on the Black Sea, and oil from Kazakhstan is not subject to the EU embargo or the price cap.

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According to the International Group of P&I Clubs, which provides protection and indemnity cover to about 90% of the global shipping trade, the new Turkish request of proof goes “well beyond” the information that is usually necessary, FT noted.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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