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Spanish Port Denies Maersk Tanker Entry Over Russian Oil Links

A ship operated by giant shipping company Maersk Tankers has been denied entry into a Spanish port after its oil cargoes were found to have previously been carried by a vessel that was formerly Russian flagged. According to Spanish officials, Spain’s northeastern Tarragona port refused entry to the Maersk Magellan tanker after the ship picked up an oil cargo that had originated from the Cameroon-registered Nobel tanker. 

Trade in oil products linked to Russia has become complicated ever since G7 nations imposed a price cap on Russian oil in December and issued separate EU measures that prohibit the import of Russian oil products into the bloc. 

The Magellan is unlikely to be the last oil-carrying ship caught up in the Russian oil snafu.  

The European Union is considering sanctions on Dubai-based SUN Ship Management Ltd on suspicions that it has been helping Russia bypass oil exports sanctions, unnamed European diplomats told Politico’s Brussels Playbook on Tuesday.

According to those sources, SUN has acquired a fleet of oil tankers from Russian state-owned Sovcomflot that had been sanctioned and continues to operate them. The fleet is said to comprise over 90 tankers. 

Oil shipping also hit another snap in December, when Turkey–a key beneficiary of Russia’s crude exports shipping–caught the markets off-guard by announcing that it would start demanding proof of insurance for oil tankers passing through the Bosphorus shipping strait. 

Ostensibly in order to comply with EU sanctions, the Turkish Ministry of Transport now requires ships hauling oil through the waterway and the nearby Dardanelles strait to provide a letter from their insurer saying that cover will be provided for that specific vessel voyage and cargo. According to the Ministry, ships sailing through the straits uninsured could result in significant damage to the waterway and vessel traffic in the event an uninsured ship has an accident. The move is likely to negatively impact Russian tankers if they struggle to obtain the necessary protection and indemnity insurance.

By Alex Kimani for Oilprice.com

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