Russian oil tankers are continuing to export oil products to Europe, despite a ban on them entering EU ports, journalists from Ukrainian television's Skhemy investigative program reported on Sept. 7.
According to Skhemy’s investigation, Russia uses two schemes to circumvent the ban.
In the first case, loaded Russian tankers leaving Russian ports stop in the Black Sea off the coast of Romania, where their cargo is transshipped onto vessels flying the flags of EU countries. After that, these vessels deliver Russian oil products to the ports of other countries, including European ones.
The second scheme uses the Liberian-flagged large capacity tanker New Legend, which has been at sea near the port city of Constanta, Romania, for five months. Russian tankers have been regularly loading it since June, and New Legend then transships the oil and oil products to other vessels, which then enter a European port or “continue the relay” until a fourth vessel in the chain enters a EU port.
The journalists revealed that Russian tankers in these schemes belong to the Volga Shipping company owned by businessman Vladimir Lisin, who, according to Russian Forbes, topped the list of the richest people in Russia in 2022.
In April 2022, the European Union announced a fifth package of sanctions against Russia over its full-scale war against Ukraine. Among other things, the sanctions include a ban on Russian and Russian operated vessels from accessing EU ports.