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Russia is trying to bypass sanctions to sell oil: it uses old tankers, this is fraught with massive spills

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Russia cannot sell its oil to the EU and is trying to use an outdated shadow fleet. This is fraught with massive spills.

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Russia is using a fleet of aged, poorly insured tankers to circumvent Western sanctions on its fossil fuels, raising fears of a potentially catastrophic accident or oil spill.

Older ships sometimes run into problems – as Spanish authorities found out on March 4, the crew of the 19-year-old tanker Blue Sun sent a signal that the ship’s engine had failed. The ship, old enough to be in a landfill, was purchased by a Vietnamese company just days earlier and registered its destination as the Russian port of Primorsk on the Baltic Sea.

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The Gulf of Finland, which forms the easternmost tongue of the Baltic Sea, is only 30 miles wide in some areas, with traffic to Russia and Russia restricted by an even denser band of water sandwiched between Finnish waters to the north and Estonian waters to the south. The bay is crowded with ships and close to Russia with ice – a navigational obstacle course at this time of the year.

Transporting Russian oil across international waters to non-sanctioned countries such as India and China is not illegal. In the month before the invasion began, 19 percent of tankers leaving Russian ports were reported as being covered by “unknown” insurers, typically a sign of inadequate or non-existent insurance, according to the Myllyvirta group.

The share has risen to 45 percent and is likely to rise further. “It simply means that a large oil spill could become an even more serious disaster or incident,” experts say.

As GLOBAL HAPPENINGS wrote earlier, Russia recorded a record budget deficit of $25 billion in January. This was the result of a number of reasons: traditionally, in January, due to the shift in tax accounting, budget indicators were worse than average, revenues from the sale of oil and gas fell by 45%, and budget expenditures skyrocketed.

Source: Obozrevatel

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