While most shipping companies have decided to give Russian exports a wide berth as sanctions rain in, combined with the dangerous situation in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, which has seen a host of merchant ships come under attack, there are some tanker owners putting profits above all else.
“News of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with the incurred risks of loading near a war zone, have nearly catapulted rates all the way to the half-thousand Worldscale mark – 480 was repeated several times basis 80kt. T,” the latest tanker report from brokers BRS, published yesterday, reported.
“Freight rates for Aframax tankers, normally carrying about 70% of Russia’s seaborne exports, are exploding for the few daredevil shipowners willing to undertake the risk of carrying Russian oil from the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea,” a daily markets update from Lorentzen & Co stated today.
Data from shipping platform Sea/ shows 20 aframaxes are currently in Russian national waters (see details below), having arrived after the start of the invasion of Ukraine. Furthermore, another 31 aframaxes are due to arrive in the next week.
Ukrainian port infrastructure is being battered by Russian shelling and will require a massive reconstruction when hostilities finally ease between the two neighbours.
Mariupol, a city of roughly 430,000 people prior to the conflict, sits on the shores of the Azov Sea around the mouth of the Kalmius River. The city has been encircled and bombarded by Russian forces for the past fortnight with significant damage reported at its port.
Ukraine’s infrastructure ministry said on Monday that part of the Black Sea port of Olvia, which is under concession to Qatar’s QTerminals, had been hit by a military strike.
Meanwhile, defensive positions are in place at Ukraine’s top port city, Odessa, as locals brace for an imminent Russian assault.
In other news relating to the conflict, Russia has threatened to cut off the Nord Stream 1 gas flow to Europe, while Seoul has followed the EU and US in sanctions against Russian banks and other measures, which could see building slots initially reserved by Russian-linked companies become available at the nation’s top three yards, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, Samsung Heavy Industries and Hyundai Heavy Industries.
“Newbuilding contracts which are worth several billions of dollars that Russian companies have on order at South Korean shipyards are also seeing an uncertain fate,” a note from brokers Affinity suggested.
For all the news on how the invasion of Ukraine is affecting global shipping, check out Splash’s dedicated coverage here.