Russia Steps in After India Drops Safety Cover for Sanctioned Vessels

May 14, 2024

India's ship certification agency has withdrawn safety cover issued to Russian oil tankers that have been placed under U.S. sanctions, according to its website, with the vessels instead turning to a domestic provider.

Major insurers and ship engine makers have already  withdrawn cover for Russia's tanker fleet, which Moscow is relying on to maintain the country's oil trade after Washington and its allies including the European Union imposed a raft of sanctions for its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

© / Adobe Stock
© / Adobe Stock

Classification societies provide services including the seaworthiness checks that are necessary for securing entry to port and services such as insurance.

The Indian Register of Ships (IRClass) - among the world's top ship certifiers that form The International Association of Classification Societies (IACS) - had emerged as a provider of safety certification for Russian vessels over the last two years.

But in February, while designating Russian shipping giant Sovcomflot, the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, also placed 14 vessels that had been certified by IRClass under sanctions.

IRClass still provides safety cover for two of the 14  vessels, the NS Consul and NS Creation, according to its website, while cover has been withdrawn from the other 12.

Those 12 vessels have been transferred to the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping (RSClass) since April, according to separate data on RSClass's website.

IRClass and RSClass did not respond to requests for comment.

IACS withdrew RSClass's membership in March 2022. Not having IACS cover could complicate entry into some ports, including in India, even with other certification in place.

The majority of the tankers, some of which have changed their name since losing the IRClass certification, are currently anchored in or sailing to Russian ports, including Nakhodka and Vladivostok in Asia and Ust-Luga and Novorossisk in the Black Sea, ship tracking data on LSEG showed.

Below is the table of some of the sanctioned vessels with their new names.  

Old Name with IMO Number
New Name
NS Antarctic (IMO 9413559)
NS Lion (IMO 9339313)
NS Consul (IMO 9341093)
NS Burgas (IMO 9411020
NS Columbus (IMO 9312884)
Sakhalin Island (IMO 9249128)
NS BRAVO (IMO 9412359)

Most of Russian sanctioned tankers cluster around Russian ports  

(Reuters - Reporting by Nidhi Verma, Jonathan Saul and Gleb Stolyarov; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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