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Russian Oil Tankers. REUTERS/Tatiana Meel/File Photo

A view shows tankers in Nakhodka Bay near the crude oil terminal Kozmino outside the port city of Nakhodka, Russia June 13, 2022. REUTERS/Tatiana Meel

IMO Raises Concern About Shadow Tanker Fleet

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March 31, 2023

By Alaric Nightingale and Thomas Gualtieri (Bloomberg) —

A United Nations agency that oversees shipping raised concerns about the shadow fleet that has emerged to transport oil amid sanctions, and called for more steps to boost safety.

A committee of the International Maritime Organization also raised concerns about the safety of ship-to-ship transfers — whereby tankers offload oil from one ship to another at sea.

‘Shadow’ Tanker Fleet Raises Risk of Accidents

In the most concrete step, it said states that become aware of ships going dark — or turning off their transponders — should be subject to more inspections.

Russia’s invasion of its neighbor — and subsequent sanctions by Western governments — have dramatically altered trade routes for oil. While more Russian crude has flowed to Asia, the shipping has also become murkier. Traders are increasingly transferring oil among a shadow fleet of aging tankers in international waters off Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in North Africa. 

© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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