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Oil leaking from bulk carrier off Gibraltar after tanker collision. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

Boats control the oil spill from the OS 35 cargo ship after its collision with an LNG tanker in Catalan Bay, off Gibraltar, September 1, 2022. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

Finland Wants EU Oil-Spill Vessel To Counter Shadow Fleet Risks

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June 8, 2024

By Leo Laikola

(Bloomberg) –Finland called for the European Union to procure a vessel to be on standby for oil spills in the northern parts of the Baltic Sea, as Russian crude transports are posing a growing threat in the region. 

The risk of oil spills in the area has increased after international sanctions forced Russia to transport oil using older vessels with weaker insurance coverage, according to a statement from Finland’s Transport and Communications Ministry. Harsh winter conditions also increase those risks as Russian vessels in the so-called shadow fleet may be “poorly equipped and not suited for icy conditions,” it said.  

Read More: Aging Shadow Fleet Carrying Russian Oil Poses Disaster Risk

The European Maritime Safety Agency, or EMSA, currently has 14 oil spill response vessels stationed at ports from Constanta at Romania’s Black Sea coast to Malmo in southern Sweden. The Finnish ministry said the EU agency should acquire a 15th ship to cover the northern areas of the Baltic Sea, especially the Gulf of Finland. 

The new ship should be capable of navigating in ice and suited to conditions in the northern parts of the Baltic Sea as recovery of oil in winter conditions is more demanding and expensive than open-water spills, the ministry said in the press release, which was issued together with the country’s coast guard and transport agency.

It also said that Finland, Sweden and Estonia will organize an event in conjunction with EMSA’s board meeting in Lisbon this week to call for more EU funds to be allocated to the region.  

© 2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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