Dark fleet tanker calls UK with India-loaded jet fuel cargo
Highly unusual to see tankers that have shipped Russian oil switch to UK or European trades
Long range one tanker Elise, built in 2005, has records that show its second-last cargo was shipped from Novorossiysk, before taking on UK-bound jet fuel cargo at Vadinar, India
A 19-YEAR-OLD dark fleet* tanker previously used to ship Russian oil products discharged an India-loaded jet fuel cargo at the UK port of Avonmouth during the weekend.
The 74,999 dwt, Liberia-flagged, Elise (IMO: 9277747), whose ownership and insurance is unknown, was inspected by UK’s Maritime and Coastal Agency but was not detained, according to a spokesperson from the Bristol Port Authority.
About half of all vessels that called at the port were inspected, he added.
It is highly unusual to see tankers from the 450-plus ships that form the dark fleet shipping Iran, Venezuela and Russian oil call at UK or European ports or switch between Russian and western European and UK trades.
Elise, a long range one tanker, loaded its second-last cargo from the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiysk, likely diesel, in mid-March, which was discharged at berths at Vitol’s Fujairah refinery about 20 days later.
The tanker then sailed for the port of Vadinar and the Essar refinery, operated by Nayara Energy to load the jet fuel cargo.
Elise then sailed for Avonmouth and the Q8 Aviation terminal at Bristol Port’s Royal Portbury Dock in southwest England. The Q8 Aviation terminal is owned by Kuwait Petroleum Co.
The vessel Elise is one of three tankers with its ISM and technical management carried out by Mumbai-based Eastern Euro Ship Management (OPC) Private Limited.
Its registered owner, since March 2022, is a single vessel company incorporated in the Marshall Islands, Virgo Incorporated.
The other two tankers managed by Eastern Euro Ship Management remain solely deployed in Russian oil trades.
Oil from this area in Russia is priced higher than the $60 oil cap imposed by the Group of Seven industrialised nations plus Australia.
This means that the tanker is likely not compliant with Western sanctions that ban shipowners, traders, managers, insurers, and other marine service providers from transporting oil to third countries unless oil was bought at or below the price cap.
The tanker discharged at the port of Santos on May 4, after arriving more than four weeks earlier, on April 2, data shows.
The beneficial tanker for all three owners is unknown. Elise does not have insurance provided by one of the 12 P&I clubs that are members of the International Group, which cover 95% of the global tanker fleet.
Eastern Euro Ship Management has been approached for comment.
* Lloyd’s List defines a tanker as part of the dark fleet if it is aged 15 years or over, anonymously owned and/or has a corporate structure designed to obfuscate beneficial ownership discovery, solely deployed in sanctioned oil trades, and engaged in one or more of the deceptive shipping practices outlined by US State Department guidance issued in May 2020. The figures exclude tankers tracked to government-controlled shipping entities such as Russia’s Sovcomflot, or Iran’s National Iranian Tanker Co, and those already sanctioned. Download our explainer on the different risk profiles of the dark fleet here