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US slaps sanctions on three more ships over oil price cap

Tankers accused of transferring Russian Urals above the $60 limit have been blacklisted by the US. Two have ties to Sovcomflot

Ofac is continuing its crackdown on Western-linked ships in breach of the price cap, following on from two previous announcements in October and November

THREE aframax tankers and their registered owners have been blacklisted by the US for lifting Russian oil at prices well above the $60 per barrel price cap.

In its third enforcement action since October against price cap violations, the US Office of Foreign Asset Control said the three vessels carried Russian Urals priced above $70 per barrel.

Ofac said the three Liberia-flagged tankers — NS Champion (IMO: 9299719), Viktor Bakaev (IMO: 9610810) and HS Atlantica (IMO: 9322839) — used services from a US person.

Their registered owners were also sanctioned: United Arab Emirates-based Sterling Shipping Incorporated, Streymoy Shipping Limited, and Liberia-based HS Atlantica Limited.

“Enforcement of the price cap on Russian oil is a top priority for the United States and our coalition partners,” US deputy secretary of the treasury Wally Adeyemo said in a statement.

“By targeting these companies and their ships, we are upholding the dual goals of the price cap by restricting Russia’s profits from oil, while promoting stable global energy markets.”

The G7 countries and Australia imposed a price cap on Russian oil in December last year, and a $100 per barrel cap for refined products and $45 per barrel cap for fuel oil in February.

Western marine service providers including charterers, shipowners, insurers and banks are allowed to ship Russian oil, providing the cargo was sold at or below the price cap, with appropriate attestation to show compliance.

UAE-based Hennesea Tankers Corporation — FZCO, the commercial operator for HS Atlantic, was the fourth-largest dark fleet* operator in Russian trades this summer, according to analysis of Lloyd’s List Intelligence data.

The associated company, Hennesea Holdings Limited, is also based in the UAE.

Viktor Bakaev is owned and operated by several Sovcomflot-related entities, LLI data shows.

NS Champion is managed by Sovcomflot’s Dubai-based entity, Oil Tankers (SCF) Management - FZCO, according to Equasis.


*Lloyd’s List defines a tanker as part of the dark fleet if it is aged 15 years or over, anonymously owned and/or has a corporate structure designed to obfuscate beneficial ownership discovery, solely deployed in sanctioned oil trades, and engaged in one or more of the deceptive shipping practices outlined by US State Department guidance issued in May 2020. The figures exclude tankers tracked to government-controlled shipping entities such as Russia’s Sovcomflot, or Iran’s National Iranian Tanker Co, and those already sanctioned. Download our explainer on the different risk profiles of the dark fleet here

Lloyd’s List Intelligence Seasearcher subscribers can add the Lloyd’s List dark fleet to their watchlists here



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