Russia seen taking over much of Iran’s dark tanker fleet

Russia is taking away an ever large slice of the so called dark tanker fleet from Venezuela and Iran to ship cargoes to Asia.

According to brokers Braemar, 33 tankers that have previously carried either sanctions-hit Iranian or Venezuelan crude have loaded Russian oil or oil products since April this year with aframaxes and suezmaxes leading the way.

Out of the dark vessel fleet that was previously carrying Iran or Venezuelan crude almost exclusively to China, around eight vessels are now used to carry Russian crude to India, 14 to China and two to both.

“More switches are likely to happen. That is because Russian grades are of better quality versus many Iranian grades that are heavier and with higher sulfur content and are sold at steeper discounts,” Braemar forecast in a new tanker report.

Export volumes from Iranian and Venezuelan crude have slid over the past few months in the same period where Russia to China volumes have picked up.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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