The US has blacklisted another Sovcomflot-controlled ship and its United Arab Emirates-based manager in its latest crackdown on alleged breaches of the Russian oil price cap.
The 115,857-dwt NS Leader (built 2007) hauled Russian crude that was sold in November for more than $80 a barrel, according to the US sanctions enforcer, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (Ofac).
The vessel loaded oil from the Baltic port of Primorsk in December before discharging at an Indian refinery the following month, according to Kpler ship tracking data.
The NS Leader is the seventh SCF-linked ship and the 27th overall to be blacklisted since the US started a more robust campaign of enforcement against price cap breaches in October.
The cap was set up in December 2022 alongside a European ban on Russian crude imports. It barred G7 service providers from involvement in Russian shipments of crude to countries outside the European Union unless the oil was sold below $60 a barrel.
Ofac also on Thursday blacklisted the NS Leader’s UAE-based ship manager Oil Tankers SCF Mgmt FZCO, which took over the running of SCF ships after another of the state-run Russian tanker giant’s subsidiaries, Sun Ship Management, was sanctioned by Western regulators.
Oil Tankers SCF Mgmt is based in a business park in Dubai and promotes itself as a “leading free zone” that allows for 100% foreign ownership, fast-track company incorporation and virtual workplaces for some companies. It has its “own laws and regulations for registered businesses”.
Two other UAE-based businesses were targeted in the latest round of sanctions.
Zeenit Supply and Trading DMCC was said to have used the NS Leader to deliver the oil that the US claims breached the price cap.
The NS Leader used US services during the voyage, which is believed to be a reference to the flag state Liberia, which has offices in the US. Liberia remains listed as the flag state of NS Leader on Equasis, but the head of the registry, Alfonso Castillero, has previously said that any vessel subject to US sanctions would be delisted.
Also listed was the UAE-based Talassa Shipping DMCC, which Ofac said had engaged in shipping multiple cargoes using vessels that loaded at Russian ports in 2023. Zeenit and Talassa shared a business manager and were founded within a week of each other in July 2023, according to Ofac.
US Treasury official Brian Nelson said the “action against vessels violating the price cap on Russian oil should serve as a continued warning that we can and will enforce violations of the cap”.
On Friday, he NS Leader was off the coast of Portugal while on a ballast leg to Primorsk, according to Kpler tracking data. The data suggests the tanker has made three voyages from Primorsk to Indian refineries since August.
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