There are indications Russia is building its own “dark fleet” ahead of the European Union’s December oil embargo, BRS Group said.

The French shipbroker said on Monday that 20 vintage crude oil tankers — seven VLCCs, five suezmaxes and eight aframaxes — changed hands in September for further trading “all of which would make good candidates to eventually haul Russian crude”.

“We anticipate that as European refiners wind down their Russian imports, more and more Russian oil will head from Russia’s western outlets to Asia” in addition to continued trade flow shifts, BRS said in a note.