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Tanker Carrying Russian Cargo Bound for U.S. Sails to North African Coast

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March 14, 2022

LONDON/ATHENS, March 14 (Reuters) – Marshall Islands-flagged tanker Elli, which made a Russian port call and had been bound for the United States, is now sailing toward the Spanish enclave of Ceuta on Morocco’s northern coast, ship tracking data showed on Monday.

U.S. President Joe Biden last week imposed an immediate ban on Russian oil and other energy imports following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. restrictions have created uncertainty about Russian shipments already underway. 

Greece-based Halkidon Shipping Corp, which manages the Elli, said on Friday the vessel “was instructed by her charterers to remain and await orders off Gibraltar, while en-route from Novorossiisk, Russia to the U.S. Gulf Coast.” 

“The vessel is in laden condition,” Halkidon said in a statement.

A company spokesperson added on Monday that the vessel’s dirty petroleum products cargo had loaded at Novorossiisk. 

A Gibraltar government spokesperson said later on Monday the vessel “didn’t request an authorisation to call in the port of Gibraltar.” 

The Elli reported its destination as Ceuta on Monday and was sailing toward the north African coast and away from international waters near Gibraltar, Refinitiv ship tracking data showed.

An official with Ceuta’s regional authority said no ship with the Elli’s characteristics had requested authorisation to call at the port.

The company spokesperson for Halkidon said the manager continued to take regular advice from government and industry bodies who were providing up-to-date information about international sanctions. 

The Elli is among at least five foreign-operated tankers which called at Russian ports before sailing toward the United States, data from predictive maritime analytics company Windward showed. 

It was unclear if the other vessels had loaded Russian oil or whether they still planned to discharge their cargoes in the United States. 

Other tankers also are looking to offload shipments after Britain banned all ships that are Russian-owned, operated, controlled, chartered, registered or flagged. 

The NS Champion, operated by Russian shipping company Sovcomflot FLOT.MM, changed course on Feb 28 and sailed away from Britain toward Denmark, where it is still located, ship-tracking data showed on Monday.

(Reporting by Jonathan Saul in London, Renee Maltzeou in Athens and Inti Landauro in Madrid; editing by Jason Neely and Bill Berkrot)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2022.

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