There are few trends more concerning in shipping today than the risk posed by the growth of what is known as the shadow fleet or dark fleet.

And there should be few imperatives more vital than the need to prevent these ships, which operate outside the limits of the mainstream safety regime, from becoming an environmental catastrophe.

After all, since Russia invaded Ukraine more than two years ago, this fleet of ships — which are often older, without mainstream insurance and with less flag state oversight — has grown to about one-fifth of the global tanker fleet, according to insurance giant Allianz.