Western pressure to isolate Russia is pushing the country’s tankers — including those owned by major shipowner Sovcomflot (SCF Group) — to ramp up measures to shield their activities from vessel trackers.

And the growing evidence of “dark activities” by Russian-flagged tankers and those controlled by Russian companies threatens to make the vessels more direct targets of US officials.

Windward, a London-listed technology company that uses artificial intelligence to analyse shipping activity, has noted a significant increase in Russian vessels engaging in dark activity when the AIS tracking data is either not received or deliberately turned off.