The European Union has declared in its sanctions that Russian merchant ships are no longer allowed to call at European ports. However, there are exceptions. And the EU member state Greece is taking advantage of this.
Russian food, medicine transports and energy imports are still allowed to accept European ports. The British shipping register “Lloyd’s List” reports that Russia continues to export crude oil worth 509 million dollars every day. This number is about the same as before the beginning of the war, as reported by the “Tages-Anzeiger”.
Greek supertanker brought Russian oil to Singapore
In Europe, however, most oil companies and shipping companies have stopped trading with Russian fleets. So how can Russia sell its oil to the world? This is where Greece comes in with its gigantic army of ships.
The Greek tankers continue to take Russia’s oil. They then distribute the black gold across the globe from Russian and European ports. At the end of April, for example, the Greek supertanker Nissos Rhenia shipped Russian oil from Rotterdam to Singapore.
“We are humble taxi drivers”
According to Lloyd’s List, 190 tankers left the Russian ports of Primorsk, Novorossiysk, Ust-Luga and St. Petersburg in April. 76 of them alone sailed under the Greek flag. For the Greeks, that would mean a tripling of Russian oil transport compared to the previous year.
Thanks to Greece, Russia is still getting rid of its oil. The fact that the oil transporters of the EU member state are helping to finance the war in Ukraine with their trade does not seem to bother them. Richard Meade of Lloyd’s List, who is in contact with Greek shipowners, explains their way of thinking: “We are humble taxi drivers who just go where we are sent.”
EU wants to completely stop Russian oil imports
In Ukraine, people are angry at Greece’s silent complicity. Irina Venediktova (43), Prosecutor General of Ukraine, said that she was preparing legal action against private individuals and legal entities that continue to trade in Russian oil.
The European Union is also planning tougher measures in another sanctions package. All imports of Russian oil are to be stopped within six months. This would also close Greece’s loophole.
Greek fleet would be irreplaceable
At a meeting of the EU ambassadors, Greece already announced opposition to the planned measures. The tanker business is important for the country and in the event of a complete embargo, Asian shipping companies would simply step in.
Nevertheless, an oil import ban by EU countries would probably have serious consequences for Russia. Because even if Asian ship owners stepped in, the Greek fleet could not be replaced. With 716 oil tankers, it is larger than the fleets of China, Japan, Korea and Singapore combined. (obf)