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Maersk Tanker Denied Entry to Spanish Port Over Russian-Linked Oil Transfer

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Maersk Tanker Denied Entry to Spanish Port Over Russian-Linked Oil Transfer

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February 15, 2023

LONDON/MADRID, Feb 15 (Reuters) – A ship operated by Denmark’s Maersk Tankers has been banned from Spanish ports, Spanish officials said, after its cargo of oil products was found to have previously been carried by a vessel that was formerly Russian flagged.

Trade in oil and oil products linked to Russia has been complicated by the Group of Seven (G7) industrialised nations’ imposition of a price cap on Russian oil in December and separate European Union measures to prohibit the import of Russian crude and oil products into the bloc. 

Spain’s northeastern Tarragona port on Feb. 10 refused entry to the Singapore-flagged Maersk Magellan tanker, saying the vessel had picked up a cargo which originated from the Cameroon-registered Nobel tanker. 

That vessel had been Russian flagged before July 1 and therefore breached EU regulations, Spain’s transport ministry said in a statement.

The cargo of oil products had been transferred to the Magellan from another vessel, the Elephant, Spanish officials said, adding that documentation showed it had previously been carried by the Nobel. 

Maersk Tankers said the official documents showed the cargo was of Turkish origin and was loaded by Nobel in the Turkish port of Aliaga on Jan. 28. 

The Magellan is the first tanker to be refused entry to a Spanish port after regulations related to the oil products price cap came into effect on Feb. 5.

“The ban is only for this specific ship,” the Spanish Merchant fleet, a transport ministry department, told Reuters separately.

“The agreement to ban the entry of the Maersk Magellan vessel can be appealed to the Department of Transport and Mobility within one month, so the company can submit whatever it deems appropriate in this appeal.”

The Merchant Fleet added that the vessel “cannot access any Spanish port or, according to the regulations, any EU port”. 

Maersk Tankers said it was in contact with Spanish authorities “to make sure that the right approach is taken over the vessel”.

Maersk Magellan was denied access following a ship-to-ship transfer from the vessel Elephant, which previously had loaded from the Cameroon-flagged vessel Nobel that had been sailing under the Russian flag until July 1, 2022,” it said.

“As per our compliance procedures, a full sanction check was conducted before the operations. This included a check of the two vessels, Nobel and Elephant, based on which we decided to proceed with the operations.” 

The Seychelles-based owner of the Nobel, Samus Shipping according toshipping databases, could not be located for comment. 

The Vietnam-based owner of the Elephant, Hung Phat Maritime Trading according to shipping databases, could also not be located for comment. 

Ship tracking showed that the Maersk Magellan had sailed away from Spain towards southern Italy on Wednesday, with the Greek port of Kalamata listed as its destination.

(Reporting by Jonathan Saul in London and Emma Pinedo in Madrid; Editing by Jan Harvey)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

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