Russian tankers continue to supply oil to the EU despite sanctions
This is indicated by the analysis of Sovcomflot corporate data and vessel tracking. According to experts, Sovcomflot concealed the ownership of its tankers using the Liberian flag and new branches in Cyprus and the UAE.
Nearly two dozen Sovcomflot tankers from the list of vessels mentioned in its 2020 financial statements were on routes in different parts of the world last month, OCCRP journalists found. Each carried an average of $240 million or more in fuel.
One of the tankers that did not turn off their radio beacons was spotted in early May while moving to the United States. Then the ship was redirected to South Africa and was soon renamed. OCCRP also tracked at least five other vessels that were recently in ports in Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands, or moved in their direction, or returned from there.
“It is almost impossible to establish that these vessels belong to Russia, especially considering that Sovcomflot is renaming them and, apparently, turning off GPS beacons in certain countries,” Soares stated. As the expert added, the use of the Liberian flag was the most obvious way to hide what kind of tankers they were.
“Liberia is one of the shipping offshores, and its flag is used as a so-called flag of convenience,” Soares said. “It’s as easy as registering a mailing address.”
It is not clear who was the buyer of fuel from these vessels.