US Authorities Stops a Tanker Loaded With Russia’s Oil Products Headed to New Orleans

US authorities prevented a ship loaded with Russia’s oil products from reaching Louisiana, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

The ship had set sail in early June from Russia’s Taman peninsula and intended to reach New Orleans on Sunday, per the Journal.

But authorities did not allow the tanker to discharge cargo, labelled as brought from Russia. The ship is being checked by the US Customs and Border Protection.

Greece-based TMS Tankers own the tanker. It was chartered by Vitol, a Swiss commodities trader, which informed the Journal that it operates in compliance with relevant regulations and laws, including the current sanctions.

oil tanker ship
Image for representation purpose only

The cargo comprises fuel oil used in furnaces, boilers and vacuum gas oil, used to produce diesel and gasoline.

The US has placed a ban on Russia’s energy imports — crude oil, liquefied natural gas, refined fuels, and coal — in March, a response to the attack on Ukraine.

But the US embargo, however, will not ban oil and fuels that originate in another country like Kazakhstan and pass through Russia via an export market, the Journal highlighted, mentioning that the Taman peninsula transports Kazakh and Russian oil products.

Besides the US sanctions on Russia’s energy along with the EU’s partial sanctions being phased in, the whole oil industry has placed on it a self-sanction and is not into any kind of business dealings with Moscow. But others tend to hide their ongoing transactions involving Russia.

Wary buyers have tried to avoid affiliation with Russia via obfuscation of the origins of trading and crude oil marked destination not known.

One more masking ploy is to make ship-to-ship transfers of Russia’s oil on the high seas that typically involve a Russian vessel unloading oil to another one from a neutral party.

Yet another workaround being used to hide the origin of Russia’s oil is paying in Chinese yuan instead of the US dollar, the typical currency used for trade.

References: Business Insider India, Devdiscourse

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