UK Targets Shadow Fleet and Cargo Ships with First Vessel Sanctions

UK listed three crude oil and one product tanker as well as two cargo ships in its first vessel sanctions (file photo)

Published Jun 13, 2024 3:16 PM by The Maritime Executive


The UK today announced its first specific sanctions against tankers in the shadow fleet moving Russian oil as part of a broader effort in connection with the G7 nations at the start of the summit in Italy. A total of 50 entities and individuals were listed in the latest sweeping effort which the UK said is targeting Russia’s financial system and suppliers supporting Russia’s military production.

In announcing the new initiative, they asserted that the efforts since February 2022 have deprived Russia of over $400 billion worth of assets and revenues. They highlight that Russia derives about a third of its federal revenues from taxes on the oil industry.

“Today we are once more ramping up economic pressure through sanctions to bear down on Russia’s ability to fund its war machine. Putin must lose, and cutting off his ability to fund a prolonged conflict is absolutely vital,” said Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.    

In the first-of-its-kind effort, they listed three crude oil tankers and one product tanker as well as two Russian-flagged cargo ships used to transport weapons. One of the cargo ships, the Lady R, has become notorious including a mysterious middle-of-the-night port call in South Africa in December 2022 that caused a political firestorm. The same vessel has also been spotted in North Korea and China, as well as making numerous transits of the Bosphorus on its way into and out of the Black Sea. The other cargo ship listed is the Angara.

There were no specific reasons cited by the Prime Minister on why the individual tankers were selected for the first effort under newly passed legislation in the UK. Three of them, the crude oil tankers Ocean AMZ (112,965 dwt) and NS Laguna (115,800 dwt), and the product tanker Canis Power (53,100 dwt) are managed from Dubai. Two are registered in the Cook Islands and one in Gabon. The other crude oil tanker, Robon (106,500 dwt), is managed from Kazakhstan and flagged in Cameroon.

The action forbids the ships from entering ports in the UK. It also bars the transport of Russian oil products.

The UK is also listing Ingosstrakh Insurance Co., which is being described as a leading provider of insurance coverage for the tanker fleet. It grew in significance after Russia was blocked from the UK and Europe insurance markets. They also listed One Moon Marine Services, a ship manager.

The Western sanctions came as Russia reportedly extended a decree aimed at undermining the G7 price cap. Reuters reports an extension was posted on Russia’s website for the decree from President Vladimir Putin prohibiting adherence to the prescribed actions in the price cap initiative.

The UK’s action is also going after companies in the LNG sector, the civil nuclear sector, the financial system, munitions suppliers and related businesses, and six individuals. They also listed two entities in Africa linked to the notorious Wagner Group.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the UK highlighted it has imposed restrictions on 29 banks and over 130 oligarchs. Over £20 billion (US$25.5 billion) of UK-Russia bilateral trade (2021 figures) is now under full or partial sanction. There has been a 99 percent decline in Russian imports into the UK and a 73 decline in UK exports to Russia.