Finland is calling for the European Union to “procure” a vessel to be ready to deal with any oil spills from the Russian-trading tanker fleet in the northern Baltic Sea.

The Ministry of Transport & Communications said carriage of Russian exports on often elderly vessels is a growing threat to the region.

Harsh winter conditions will increase the risks, as these tankers may be “poorly equipped and not suited for icy conditions”, it added.

The European Maritime Safety Agency has 14 oil spill response vessels based at ports ranging from Romania in the south up to Sweden in the north.

Finland is urging the EU to buy another ship to cover the Gulf of Finland.

It wants this vessel to be ice-capable, it said in a statement backed by Finland’s coast guard.

In May, the Guardian reported that the UK and Finland were discussing plans to require third parties to do more to block the Russian-trading fleet operating in the Baltic and the English Channel.

Finnish foreign minister Elina Valtonen said the EU was looking at a further package of sanctions, but added: “What is very important is that the G7 is active in this as well, because obviously what the shadow fleet is doing is circumventing the oil price cap.”

Denmark has already voiced concerns about elderly tankers moving Russian oil through its waters.

Pilots there have said some of these ships refuse their help.

Last month, an elderly aframax believed to have been loaded with Russian oil broke down in the Dardanelles Strait after loading in Russia.

The 105,700-dwt Hera 1 (built 2005) experienced engine failure and lost propulsion near an entry point to the strait in north-west Turkey.

Southbound traffic was suspended for three hours during a salvage operation.