A Turkish-flagged, Turkish-owned small products tanker has been turned away from a Norwegian port because of its former Russian connections.

Shipowner Yavuz Kalkavan of the Besiktas Group does not understand why.

The 4,600-dwt Dumankaya (built 2007, ex RN Magellan) was de-registered from the Russian flag in May of last year, he told TradeWinds, and has traded normally in European short-sea trades ever since March of this year, following a prolonged drydocking.

Reference sources confirm that the ship is owned by Turkey’s Besiktas Likid Tasimacilik and has no current Russian involvement as regards ownership, management, or flag.

But Norwegian media reported on 4 August that Norwegian border police turned it away at the port of Tonsberg in southern Norway.

Kalkavan confirmed that the ship was denied permission to discharge. The ship is now waiting while Besiktas’s local port agent presents documentation to Norwegian authorities in hopes of getting clearance.

He told TradeWinds Netherlands port state control authorities examined the former Russian connections of the tanker earlier this year but found no reason to detain it.

Some reference sources list the ship as having been sold by Russian oil major Rosneft to Besiktas in early January, but Kalkavan said this is incorrect.

“The ship had been bareboat chartered to the Russians but the owners took redelivery last year,” he told TradeWinds.

Reference source IHS Markit confirms that the ship has been owned by Besiktas all along, but was in the operated and managed fleet of Russia’s Rosneftflot from May 2011.

A company source told TradeWinds the ship was redelivered in poor condition. Kalkavan said its stay at Tukter Shipyard in Turkey lasted from May 2021 to March 2022 because of delays resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. Although de-flagged from Russia at the beginning of that period, it was not reflagged until much later.

But Norwegian police as quoted in daily newspaper Verdens Gang cited the date of the change of flag as the reason for their action.

“The reason we carried out a control is that it is a ship that is assumed to have been flagged as Russian at a point in time, that is now flagged as Turkish,” said Torill Sorte, leader of the border control unit of the Southeast Police District, as quoted by the Norwegian newspaper.

“It was flagged as Turkish too late, so it is regarded as Russian,” she was quoted as saying.

VesselsValue lists the Besiktas fleet with 25 ships including suezmax tankers and capesize bulkers but mostly consisting of chemical and products tankers of up to 20,000 dwt. It has been a frequent buyer of small tankers between 10 and 15 years old during the past two years.

Oil major Rosneft was one of the first Russian state-owned companies to be hit by European sanctions after Russia invaded Ukraine.

It has a fleet of six ships according to VesselsValue, including three small product tankers, but a massive orderbook of 28 aframax and LR1 tankers, mostly shuttle tankers, 21 under construction in Russia and seven at South Korea’s Samsung.