European shippers have ramped up trade of Russian oil ahead of sanctions in December, per the WSJ.
Tankers have traveled huge distances to make deliveries, while some ships have made transfers at sea.
China and India meanwhile have increased imports of cheap Russian oil since the war in Ukraine began. 

European cargo ships are scrambling to deliver Russian crude while they still can ahead of new sanctions against Moscow, which are set to begin December 5.  

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, the US and other Western nations have stopped using Russian energy or promised to wean off of it. Once the fresh sanctions set in, vessels carrying sanctioned crude will no longer be able to get insurance coverage, meaning their sailing will be illegal. 

Since the war began, shipments to both China and India, as well as Saudi Arabia, have skyrocketed. 

For example, India went from importing nearly zero barrels per day of Russian crude to almost one million barrels a day last month, Vortexa data shows. And China has almost doubled its Russian crude imports between February and June. 

As Europe gears up to fully halt Russian crude deliveries, Greek tanker owners in particular have ramped up trade, according to a Wall Street Journal report. While Greek tanker owners account for a third of the global fleet, they moved about half of Russian crude volumes in May and June.

But those crude flows aren’t on the rise by accident. Greek tankers are traveling huge distances to make shipments, going as far as Siberia, which is usually a destination for Chinese and Russian tankers. One Greek shipping executive told the Journal that the tankers can make more money by going further distances.  

Meanwhile, European tankers are also participating in ship-to-ship transfers while at sea, a method meant to obscure the origin and destination of goods. 

Dozens of these maritime exchanges have taken place in recent months near Greece, according to the report, with traders adding that some tankers turn off their transponders to conceal their location. What’s more, since the war began, a growing volume of Russian oil has been sent “destination unknown” as wary buyers try to avoid affiliation with Moscow. 

“We see Greek companies providing almost the largest tanker fleet for the transportation of Russian oil,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told attendees on video conference earlier this month, per the Journal. “I am sure that this does not meet the interests of Europe, Greece or Ukraine.”

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Source:: Business Insider

      

European cargoes carrying Russian oil are traveling huge distances and making transfers at sea to deliver crude before EU sanctions begin

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