An anonymous Chinese merchant has paid $376 million for 13 tankers to transfer ship-to-ship Russian crude oil in the mid-Atlantic region. Data from the maritime intelligence website Lloyd’s List shows.
As per the news report, an unidentified buyer has bought five tankers from Aframax as well as seven crude carriers of a large size and one suezmax by making purchases in Hong Kong and China. The buyer bought 10 of the vessels during the month of July and May and all 13 of them are connected to the identical office building located situated in Dalian, China.
The fleet forms the basis of a brand new, high-risk hub for transshipment of Russian crude oil in International waters offshore of the West Coast of Portugal.
Since each of the vessels are at a minimum of 15 years old, they’re likely out of the charter of the majority of conventional oil companies. Additionally, they did not have the usual financing, and this suggests that the mysterious Chinese buyer is cash-rich according to the report.
The fleet, which has no indication of violating sanctions, shows how Russia’s war on Ukraine has resulted in an unconstrained oil market that is operating outside the conventional trade routes and all the while, it is in compliance with the insurance regulations and other rules.
In May, there were reports of ship-to-ship transfers of Russian crude on the high seas, and”dark” transfer rates have risen because buyers are trying to conceal the source of their products. Although the ship-to-ship transfer is not uncommon from large to small tankers in long-haul trips, they are risky. Transfers are typically conducted in protected waters to minimize the chance of spills, but not in the open ocean.
In the meantime, traders have tried to avoid a connection with Moscow by using other methods by moving cargoes that are marked “destination unknown.”