Russian fuel oil exports to Greece reached a new high in April, with ship-to-ship (STS) transfers becoming more common.

Traders can still ship Russian products in the European Union, as a ban has not yet been signed off.

Refinitiv data shows fuel oil shipments to Greece hit nearly 900,000 tonnes last month, almost double the March total, with a new record expected to be set for May.

Most of this involved cargoes from Russian ports heading to Kalamata, Reuters reported.

Traders said the fuel oil is being stored and blended off Greece on tankers and then loaded onto other vessels for export elsewhere.

One industry source said this was not uncommon, but activity levels have been very high of late.

Two shipping sources named Greek owner Liquimar’s 167,300-dwt suezmax Evridiki (built 2007) as loading a Russian fuel oil cargo in the middle of last month off Kalamata.

The tanker then headed to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, Refinitiv data shows.

Russian exports to the Middle East bunker hub have been on the rise.

The Evridiki was recently at the centre of a pollution case ruling in the US, following an incident dating back to 2019.

Another suezmax, the 159,000-dwt Okeanos (built 2003), loaded fuel oil via STS off Kalamata earlier this month, data showed.

The ship, operated by Salmar Shipping of Greece, was heading to India.

And Avin International’s 158,000-dwt suezmax Kriti King took on a fuel oil cargo off the port in early May.

This tanker is now destined for China.

Shipping sources also told Reuters that Russian oil sellers have restored STS operations in Rotterdam and near Spain’s Ceuta after EU sanctions and activist protests put a stop to such procedures off Denmark.

The Greek energy ministry declined to comment on what it said was private companies’ business.