The US Treasury department has placed three tankers owned by Sovcomflot (SCF Group) on its sanctions blacklist amid efforts to ratchet up pressure on shipping to abide by the price cap on the Russian oil trades.
Then moves by the Office of Foreign Assets Control, known as Ofac, target three aframax tankers controlled by the Moscow-headquartered shipping giant and their United Arab Emirates-based registered owners.
Officials alleged ships of using service providers in countries that are part of the coalition of Western countries that banned trade in Russian crude and oil products over the price cap level, as a way to prevent Moscow from profiting from its invasion of Ukraine.
“Shipping companies and vessels participating in the Russian oil trade while using Price Cap Coalition service providers should fully understand that we will hold them accountable for compliance,” said Treasury deputy secretary Wally Adeyemo.
“We are committed to maintaining market stability in spite of Russia’s war against Ukraine, while cutting into the profits the Kremlin is using to fund its illegal war and remaining unyielding in our pursuit of those facilitating evasion of the price cap.”
A spokeswoman at Sovcomflot, also known as SCF Group, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Added to the blacklist are Kazan Shipping and its 116,000-dwt Kazan (built 2003), Progress Shipping and its 115,000-dwt Ligovsky Prospect (built 2003) and Gallion Navigation with its 106,000-dwt NS Century (built 2006).
All three are listed in the Sovcomflot fleet.
Satellite tracking data from VesselsValue shows that since May, the vessels have been moving cargoes from waters off South Korea to India. Before that they were carrying volumes from key Russian ports after the December 2022 price cap was imposed.
The data shows that the Kazan and Ligovsky Prospect are moored at Chinese shipyards, possibly for their special surveys as both are 20 years old.
All are flagged by Liberia, whose shipping registry is managed by a US company, and their ship manager is listed as Sovcomflot unit Oil Tankers SCF Mgmt in Dubai.
Their classification society is the Indian Register of Shipping, according to data from Equasis.
The sanctions against the ships came days after industry sources told TradeWinds that some 30 tanker companies have received letters from Ofac over the price cap.
It is believed that the managers are being asked to demonstrate the due diligence steps they have undertaken in verifying compliance with the price cap rules.