About 500 ships are expected to play a key role in transporting Russian crude to China and other Asian ports. Most of them are old tankers whose owners and insurers are unclear. They have been called Russia’s “ghost”, “shadow” or “dark” fleet. With their help, Russia is likely to circumvent the price cap introduced by the G7 and the EU last December. The purpose of this limit was to curb Russia’s foreign exchange oil revenue.
The “ghost fleet” is likely to be particularly important to the Kremlin at this time. That is, the price of Ural oil exceeded the price limit of US$60 per barrel. The cap bars Western companies from transporting, servicing or brokering shipments of Russian crude oil priced above this price.
But Russia has apparently made preparations for this. As sanctions began to unfold, old crude oil tankers suddenly began to be bought in large numbers. His buyers were previously unknown to the market. An Accident? hardly likely.
It is said that the transformation into the Ghost Fleet took months. “Once it became clear there would be sanctions, the used market for old, broken-down tankers faltered,” said Michelle Wiese Bockman, a senior analyst at Lloyds List Intelligence who has extensively covered Russia’s dark fleet. have done, told The Guardian. “Hundreds of transactions took place and everyone joined this dark fleet and started transporting Russian oil.”
For example, a 16 or 17-year-old medium-sized “Aframax” tanker has doubled in value within six months. Most big oil companies refuse to hire tankers that are more than 15 years old.
Oil secretly brought from Russia is later refined in India and elsewhere, and even exported to Western countries that have imposed sanctions on the Kremlin. Prior to this, the ships are said to have used various tactics to conceal their location or the origin of the crude oil transported from Russian ports. Bockmann said, “AIS lag” occurs when the transponder of the ship’s automatic identification system is turned off; uncontrolled ship-to-ship transfers in international waters; ‘Flying of flag’ or changing the country of registration of the vessel; and ‘complex ownership and management structures that change every month'”.