ANKARA – Greek shipping oligarchs who got the European Union to back off any idea of disallowing vessels to transport oil from Russia as part of sanctions over the invasion of Ukraine are profiting from moving the product, said Turkey’s pro-government newspaper The Daily Sabah.
Exporting Russian oil via ship-to-ship (STS) loadings, fuel oil arrivals offshore Greece jumped to record levels in April, data showed and sources said the paper, not noting that Turkey refused to join in the sanctions against Russia.
In April, shipments of Russian fuel oil with Greece as a destination reached nearly 0.9 million tons, about double March levels and could reach new records in May, according to Refinitiv Eikon data, the report said.
The bulk of this was shipped from Russian ports to Greece’s Kalamata port, the data showed but the Greek Energy Ministry refused to comment, saying that was private business although the government has the power to intervene.
Traders said the fuel oil – a by-product of refining crude oil into lighter, cleaner products like auto fuels – is being stored and blended offshore onboard tankers and being loaded via ship-to-ship transfer for re-export, it was said.
While it is not uncommon for fuel oil to load offshore Greece for exports to other destinations, the level of activity was very high compared to normal April levels, one industry source told the paper.
The Evridiki tanker, which has the capacity to load 130,000 tons, loaded a Russian fuel oil cargo in mid-April off Kalamata, two shipping sources said.
The tanker then made its way to the United Arab Emirates oil hub of Fjairah, Refinitiv data revealed. Russia has been increasing fuel exports to the hub, with arrivals set to jump to about 2.5 million barrels according to data from oil analytics firm Vortexa.
Another tanker, Okeanos, with the same capacity, loaded fuel oil via STS off Kalamata earlier this month and was headed for India, the report added, while another vessel, the Kriti King, which loaded a 130,000-ton fuel oil cargo offshore Kalamata in early May, was going to China, said Refinitiv.
Shipping sources told Reuters that Russian oil sellers have restored STS operations in Rotterdam and near Spain’s Ceuta, after EU sanctions and activist protests blocked them in Denmark.