The shadow fleet of tankers hauling sanctioned oil cargoes has increased to more than 700 vessels despite Russia-related enforcement action forcing Western service providers out of the trades, according to new research by BRS Shipbrokers.

Russian oil is almost exclusively lifted by the grey — or shadow — fleet since the rising price of oil since the summer of last year propelled the cost of barrels beyond oil price caps imposed by the G7 group of nations, the broker said in its latest weekly tanker report.