International Group of P&I Clubs members have withdrawn cover from all but a handful of tankers operated by Mumbai-based Gatik Ship Management.
The development comes as Russian oil exports from its eastern ports such as Kozmino have traded regularly above the price cap, which triggers international sanctions.
The American Club was the largest single provider of insurance services to Gatik in the group. According to shipping databases, only two tankers remain under its cover.
The 105,000-dwt Sky 1 (built 2004) and 106,500-dwt Sea 1 (built 2005) are both listed as covered by the American Club and appear to be operating in compliant trades.
The recently merged NorthStandard also covered several of the owner’s tankers, but according to databases, there are no longer any Gatik vessels placed with the UK insurer.
It is understood this decision was taken months ago and is unrelated to the recent oil price movements.
Under international sanctions applied by G7 countries and Australia, shipowners are required to provide insurers, and other service providers, with attestations that they are not carrying Russian oil purchased above the price cap.
The price cap has been set at $60 per barrel for crude exports since December last year and $100 for oil products.
Although it is unclear why the cover is no longer being extended to most of Gatik’s 50-ship fleet, each protection and indemnity policy includes a sanctions exemption clause that can be enacted if there is a concern a ship is involved in a non-compliant trade.
Gatik is shipping’s fastest-growing tanker company and the most active buyer of secondhand tanker tonnage, building up a fleet of 50 over the past year.
It registers its fleet largely in St Kitts and Nevis.
The US Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (Ofac) recently warned US shipping service providers to guard against facilitating a sanctioned trade.
“Ofac is aware of reports that ESPO [supplied via East Siberia Pacific Ocean pipeline] and other crudes exported via Pacific ports in the Russian Federation, such as Kozmino, may be trading above the price cap and using covered services provided by US persons,” said Ofac said in a recent alert.
“These US service providers may be unaware that they are providing covered services involving Russian oil purchased above the price cap as the non-US persons involved in the exports may have provided incomplete or false documentation or used other deceptive practices,” it added.
The International Group’s 12 members provide P&I cover to around 95% of the world fleet.