US sanctions enforcers have targeted two more Sovcomflot tankers in its latest round of financial measures, bringing the total to six ships controlled by the Russian carrier accused of breaching the oil price cap.

The 110,043-dwt NS Champion (built 2005) and 118,175-dwt Viktor Bakaev (built 2013) were accused of hauling oil sold for $70 per barrel, above the crude cap set by the G7 group of nations in December 2022.

The two companies were targeted as they used “US-person services” while transporting the Russian crude. The US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has not identified the US services that have put the vessels in its crosshairs.

But the two ships — along with a third sanctioned vessel, the 114,896-dwt HS Atlantica (built 2006) — are flagged by Liberia, which has offices in the US state of Virginia.

The US, along with the price-cap supporters of the European Union and the UK, have written to flag states Liberia, the Marshall Islands and Panama to request more checks to ensure their ships are not hauling price-capped oil, according to a Reuters report.

All eight ships, including two non-SCF vessels, targeted since October for alleged price cap breaches have been flagged by the Marshall Islands or Liberia. Western companies are banned from providing shipping, finance or insurance services for oil sold above the cap.

The three ships identified on Friday are all owned by single-ship companies. The SCF Group ships are under management in Dubai with linked ownership, while the HS Atlantica is registered and managed in Liberia with Indian technical management, according to Equasis.

All three ships were on ballast legs at the time that they were sanctioned, and it was unclear if there would be any impact on their operations.

SCF hit hard

But previous price cap breach sanctions imposed by the US have affected SCF Group operations.

The 105,700-dwt NS Century (built 2006), a Sovcomflot vessel sanctioned last month, is currently stopped off the coast of Sri Lanka with a cargo of Sokol crude that had been due for delivery in India before the end of November.

India’s shipping regulator said the government would decide if sanctioned ships could dock at the country’s ports.

Sovcomflot has previously said it would appeal against the sanctioning of four of its tankers and accused the US of unfairly targeting the company.

It has been approached for comment following the listing of the latest two ships, whose registered owners are in the United Arab Emirates.

Wally Adeyemo, deputy secretary of the US Treasury, said: “Enforcement of the price cap on Russian oil is a top priority for the United States and our Coalition partners.

“By targeting these companies and their ships, we are upholding the dual goals of the price cap by restricting Russia’s profits from oil while promoting stable global energy markets.”