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Russia-Linked Oil Tanker Fleet Vanishes Even Faster Than It Grew

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July 10, 2023

(Bloomberg) —

A fleet of tankers that sprouted up out of nowhere to keep Russia’s oil moving has disbanded even faster than it emerged, underscoring the challenges involved in keeping track of who’s helping Moscow to get its petroleum to buyers around the world.

Mumbai-based Gatik Ship Management now marshals a fleet of just four oil tankers, according to Equasis, an international maritime database set up to promote safe shipping. As recently as April it had 42, having amassed most of those carriers in under a year.

A contact number for Gatik via the Equasis database didn’t work, and a message to an email address given for the firm wasn’t immediately returned.

Gatik came under scrutiny earlier this year as its fast-expanding fleet, much of which was moving Russian barrels, raised questions about who might be backing the firm. 

Some of Gatik’s fleet then lost access to industry standard insurance after falling foul of a Group of Seven price cap relating to the transportation of Russian oil. Shortly after that, some of the company’s ships also lost their classification with Lloyd’s Register, another key service that validates basic technical standards for vessels.

It’s hard to be clear what’s really become of the fleet. The vessels that are no longer listed under Gatik’s commercial management continue to handle Russian oil. They are now under the control of a wide range of companies whose ownership structure is also unclear.

The fact that Gatik’s fleet shrank so suddenly was reported earlier by TradeWinds.

© 2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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