Denmark May Block Access to Markets for Oil Tankers from Russia

Wednesday, 15 November 2023

The EU is planning to instruct Denmark to check and potentially block tankers carrying Russian oil passing through its waters amid Western countries’ attempts to set a price ceiling on it, which the Russian Federation has learned to circumvent.

As reported by Financial Times, their sources report that Denmark will inspect tankers passing through its waters without Western insurance under laws allowing states to inspect vessels that, in their opinion, pose a threat to the environment.

"The key is enforcing the insurance regulations. It’s being done very patchily at the moment . . littoral states have the right to see proof," said one of the sources of the publication.

Officials say the requirement for proper insurance from reputable firms is justified, given that many Russian oil supplies are carried out by the so-called "shadow fleet" of older ships, which are more likely to break down or spill oil, threatening a significant environmental disaster.


Officials familiar with these plans point out that their implementation depends on the ability of the Danish navy to stop and inspect tankers, and raises the question of what Copenhagen would do if the ship refuses to stop.

All Russian oil supplied via the Baltic Sea, which accounts for approximately 60% of total oil exports by sea, crosses the narrow Danish Straits on its way to international markets.

The proposal comes after Western officials acknowledged that "almost none" of Russia's oil exports were sold below the 60-dollars-a-barrel ceiling last month, 11 months after the G7 imposed the measure in response to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The G7 limit requires Western ship insurers to cover only those Russian shipments for which oil was sold at less than US$60 per barrel. But more and more tankers carrying Russian oil are suspected of operating with falsified financial statements or insurance from non-Western insurance companies.

The EU is also considering other measures under the new sanctions package, which EU member states should officially discuss this week. These include sanctions against shipping companies that sell their old vessels to the Russian Federation’s "shadow fleet" and against countries that allow these vessels to sail under their national flag.

Earlier, it was reported that the US Treasury Department had sent out requests to 30 owners of about a hundred vessels suspected of transporting Russian oil without adhering to the price ceiling agreed by Western states.

Last week, the European Parliament called for tougher measures for EU-level monitoring of compliance with sanctions against Russia, as well as greater efforts to limit Moscow's ability to circumvent sanctions measures.

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