The difficulties of enforcing sanctions against Russia are becoming increasingly evident with a host of foreign shipowners still making a fortune shifting commodities out of the world’s largest nation on day 57 of the invasion of Ukraine.
Data from shipping platform Sea/ shows a total of 474 ships across all segments are due to call at Russian ports in the coming three weeks, of which 256 are non-Russian flagged. Many Russian owners have reflagged their vessels in the opening weeks of the war as sanctions rained in, while the Sea/ data makes clear there are many well known, non-Russian shipping names making a fortune with aframaxes out of the Baltic being fixed at rates in excess of $300,000 a day.
From last Sunday, the European Union joined other nations including the UK in banning entry into the ports of ships associated with Russia. However, crude and coal volumes continue to flow west from the Baltic and Black Sea.
At a webinar on Tuesday, analysts at freight analytics platform Vortexa presented data showing that at least 47.6m barrels of crude, and 2.7m tonnes of coal will have been discharged at EU and American ports for the period from April 1 to April 26. The Russian Tanker Tracking Group, an initiative led by the Ukrainian government, shows that from April 19 to April 26 32 laden crude tankers, 19 product tankers, 26 bulk carriers carrying coal and seven LNG carriers will all discharge Russian commodities at ports across the EU and the UK.
The Vortexa presentation also showed how ship-to-ship transfers are on the rise of Russian cargoes moving to different vessels in European waters for onward shipment to Asia with India notably upping its imports of comparatively cheap Russian oil.
The war has changed the nature of Black Sea shipping dramatically as new data from Sea/ shows.
Typically the Black Sea has around 600 ships on an average on any given day. Since the Russian invasion started that average has dropped to around 500 a day mainly due to the lack of ships in Ukrainian waters.
At the London headquarters of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), secretary-general Kitack Lim addressed delegates attending the Maritime Safety Committee yesterday, during which he spent time discussing the ongoing Ukrainian invasion.
“The ongoing armed conflict between the Russian Federation and Ukraine continues to present a serious threat to the safety and security of ships operating in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov and their crews,” Lim said.
The secretary-general’s special advisor on maritime security, Peter Adams, provided further details to delegates yesterday.
At the start of the conflict approximately 2,000 seafarers were stranded aboard 94 vessels in Ukrainian ports. As of yesterday 84 merchant ships remain, with nearly 500 seafarers onboard.