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Russian Oil Tanker U-Turns Hours After Being Hit by US Sanctions

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February 9, 2024

By Julian Lee (Bloomberg) —

A Russian oil tanker performed a near-immediate u-turn off the coast of Portugal after being subjected to US sanctions.

The NS Leader, ultimately owned by the Russian Federation, was headed to the Baltic Sea port of Primorsk when the measures were imposed at 2 p.m. Washington time on Thursday. 

The 817-foot tanker, which was due to load its next cargo in about 10 days from now, then halved its speed, turned back and changed its destination to “for orders,” vessel tracking and shipping information data compiled by Bloomberg show. 

The u-turn underscores the fact that the measures, which have been ratcheting up since late last year, have an impact.

Two months earlier, having also been sanctioned, the Viktor Bakaev performed the same maneuver in a similar location, abandoning its voyage toward another Russian oil export terminal. 

It’s now anchored in the Black Sea and hasn’t hauled another cargo since, the shipping data show. It looks like the NS Leader is following a similar course.

The US Treasury sanctioned Liberia-registered NS Leader Shipping Incorporated, which is the registered owner of the NS Leader. It also sanctioned UAE-based Zeenit Supply and Trading DMCC, Talassa Shipping DMCC and Oil Tankers SCF Mgmt FZCO.

The Treasury asserted that the Russian Federation is the ultimate owner of the NS Leader. That’s consistent with a database maintained for the International Maritime Organization.

© 2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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