Tag Archives: sanctions

Shadow fleet shines light on fast-growing Gabon ship registry

Tankers wishing to skirt the sanctions rules for petroleum transport are migrating to registry in Gabon, a country in West Africa.

Insurers and P&I companies are reporting great concern, because Gabon does not exert any control over regulatory and technical matters.

If accidents occur, there are fewer ways to enforce damage claims.

Ships in the gray tanker trade often experience issues docking at ports, and have to rely on ship-to-ship transfers at sea, which are highly dangerous. It’s hard to track shadow tankers, because they may turn off AIS when they near a banned area.

About 1000 tankers. have worked in the shadow fleet. It has grown fast in the last year. Currently BRS shows about 758 tankers, up from 731 in the previous month.

The size of the shadow fleet is a good indicator of how much oil trade is evading the sanctions instituted due to the Ukraine war, as well as trade with Iran.

Sam ChambersMay 23, 2023

Shadow fleet shines light on fast-growing Gabon ship registry – Splash247

Shades of grey in dark fleet

This useful article indicates the different types of use for tankers that trade grey products, which are either sanctioned oil, or Russian products which are not sanctioned but are subject to a price cap.

Six tiers are suggested by BRS, a ship broker, ranging from hardest to trade to easiest to trade.

Mainstream tankers who refuse Russian business are easiest to trade. The next easiest are mainstream tankers that undertake Russian business under the price cap. These two tiers are insured by Western P&I clubs.

Getting grayer, we come to vintage older tankers owned by small companies, usually with no record of ship management. Those that take Russian business, probably under the price cap, and other mainstream business, are next easiest to trade. Next lowest are those that undertake only Russian business, assumed to be under the price cap. These two can be insured by Western P&I clubs, assuming they lift under the price cap.

Below them are those that only undertake sanctioned business such as with Iran, Venezuela, and North Korea. These probably are insured by state-owned insurance clubs from those states.

In the darkest grey tier are tankers that are under sanction. These include PDVSA, Iran, Sun Ship Management, and other sanctioned entities, also probably insured by state-owned insurance clubs.

BRS International is an international ship broker providing chartering and post-fixing services across the world’s tanker markets (from their website). They count over 700 tankers over 3000 DWT in the world grey fleet.

The article contains other useful information for understanding the grey tanker market.

Sam Chambers April 12, 2023

Shades of grey overshadows dark fleet – Splash247

China-Russia vs. US-EU: How global shipping is slowly splitting in two

This article is useful for understanding how the global shipping trades are behaving now.

Apparently many operators of ships are willing to participate in trade with the Russia and China bloc. These often are smaller, older vessels, which are chartered specifically to avoid the sanctions regimes put forth by the EU and the US.

We don’t know where this will go. But it’s pretty certain the trend will continue for quite a while, and we may find that global ocean trade will continue to differentiate into two segments.

Greg Miller·Friday, April 07, 2023

China-Russia vs. US-EU: How global shipping is slowly splitting in two