The failure of Western sanctions on Russian oil exports is highlighted by the presence of two oil tankers just off the coast of the Greek town of Gytheio. These tankers, with a combined age of 57 years and rusty hulls, raise questions about their ownership, insurance, and the final destination of their profits from trading Russian fuel.
What makes these tankers even more suspicious is the fact that they sail under the only flag in the world deemed by authorities to be “very high risk.” Additionally, their recent movements have raised eyebrows, with digital tracking systems showing the 26-year-old Turba floating over four miles away from the 900-foot Simba, as the latter emptied its fuel cargo into the smaller vessel, all in plain view of Bloomberg News.
The ship-to-ship transfer that took place in September is not an isolated incident. More than a dozen similar vessels, part of a vast shadow fleet, were spotted nearby, engaged in similar activities or preparing to do so.
The lack of transparency surrounding the ownership, insurance, and destination of the profits from trading Russian fuel, combined with the suspicious movements and activities of these tankers, underscores the challenges faced by Western sanctions in effectively curbing Russian oil exports. As tensions continue to simmer between Russia and the West, the presence of these shadowy vessels only serves to complicate efforts to enforce sanctions and hold accountable those involved in circumventing them.