On the eleventh sanction package against Russia, the EU introduced a prohibition to access EU ports for vessels which are transporting Russian oil and have conducted ship–to-ship transfers or turned off their automatic identification system (AIS).
urthermore, the EU also decided to prohibit access to EU ports if a vessel does not notify the competent authority at least 48 hours in advance about a ship-to-ship transfer occurring within the Exclusive Economic Zone of a Member State or within 12 nautical miles from the baseline of that Member State’s coast.
Why does the EU take sanctions against Russia?
According to the EU, sanctions aim to weaken the Russian government’s ability to finance its war of aggression against Ukraine and they are calibrated in order to minimize the negative consequences on the Russian population.
The Union claims that sanctions are imposing a direct cost on Russia for its war of aggression and damaging Russia’s industrial and economic ability to wage war, manufacture more weapons, and repair existing weapons systems. The sanctions also deprive the Russian army and its suppliers of the goods and equipment needed to wage war against Ukraine.
What is the dark fleet?
According to the IMO, a fleet of between 300 and 600 tankers, mostly older ships with substandard maintenance, unclear ownership, and a severe lack of insurance, is currently operating as a ‘dark fleet‘ to avoid sanctions.
The dark fleet engages in perilous ship-to-ship transfers in the open ocean, with masked ship identities and disabled AIS transponders. In order to conceal the illegal nature of their employment, owners of these tankers frequently change the vessel’s name and ownership and flag it in locations known to be less stringent.