India has been providing safety certification for dozens of vessels that are managed by a Dubai subsidiary of a top-notch Russian shipping major named Sovcomflot, official data reflected, enabling oil exports to India and elsewhere following Western certifiers withdrawing services owing to global sanctions placed against Moscow.
Certification by the Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass), one of the top classification firms in the world, offers a final link to the paperwork chain – post insurance coverage – required to keep the tanker fleet of the state-owned Sovcomflot afloat and delivering Russian crude oil to the overseas markets.
Data gathered and collated from the IRClass website reflects that it has certified more than 80 vessels managed by Dubai’s SCF Management Services Ltd, an entity mentioned as a subsidiary on Sovcomflot’s official website.
An Indian shipping source that is familiar with the certification procedure has also added that most of Sovcomflot’s vessels had migrated to IRClass, via the Dubai arm.
TradeWinds, a popular shipping industry publication, reported sometime last week that most of the international tanker fleet of Sovcomflot was declassified owing to sanctions being transferred to the IRClass in April and May.
Classification societies guarantee that the ships are safe and also seaworthy, essential for securing insurance and gaining access to the ports.
The crude oil sector of Russia, hit by strict sanctions owing to Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, was forced to seek purchasers outside the West while turning to Russia’s insurers and transporters to handle exports.
India’s ship certifier is one members of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) that accounts for over 90% of the worldwide cargo-carrying tonnage.
The Russia Maritime Register of Shipping had been part of the group till March when its membership had been withdrawn following polling by 75% of IACS members. IACS decides the technical standards and makes a certifier more appealing to insurers and ports, flags registries as well as owners of ship that need safety assurances.
Four leading IACS members from France, the UK, Norway, and the US, have stopped providing services to Russian entities owing to the sanctions.
A spokesperson associated with IRClass, on the other hand, when asked regarding the certification data for Sovcomflot’s fleet, reportedly said that the Indian Register of Shipping reiterates that they have not classed vessels that are owned, managed, or flagged by Russian firms.