A Vietnamese VLCC is underway to Asia after completing the first transshipment of Russian crude from smaller tankers off Morocco.

Kpler said the 308,800-dwt Rolin (built 2005) received stems of Urals crude via ship-to-ship operations from three aframaxes off the city of Nador in the Mediterranean.

The Rolin was off the coast of West Africa on Thursday, signalling arrival in Singapore by 20 July, although China is more likely as an ultimate destination.

“The VLCC is fully laden and appears to be heading east via the Cape of Good Hope route. This is the first instance where Nador was used as an area for the STS of Urals,” Kpler said.

The analytics company reported earlier in June that the Rolin, listed as controlled by Vietmy Trans Co, had received 700,000 barrels of crude from the Chinese-operated 106,500-dwt Serendi (built 2005).

One of the other aframaxes to add its cargo later was the 115,350-dwt Sea Fidelity (built 2005), previously managed by Star Voyages Shipping Services of Dubai before the company was targeted by UK sanctions last December.

TradeWinds has reported that since the blacklisting, the Sea Fidelity has twice hauled Urals to Indian refineries, in a symbol of the limits of the UK sanctions regime.

Post-blacklisting, single-ship entity Elory Logistics remained the owner but the ship manager has changed to Dubai outfit One Moon Marine Services.

The other aframax involved was the 113,000-dwt Cook Islands-flagged Ocean Amz (built 2008), also listed as managed by One Moon Marine Services. It is owned by the single-ship entity Gimbal Marine.

Two of the trio had docked at the Russian Baltic port of Primorsk in May, Kpler said.

Greek disruption

Greece has been disrupting STS transfer activity in international waters off its coast through a series of navy drills.

The international waters of the Laconian Gulf have long been a key spot for Russian crude transfers, but the exercises have led to operations in the Red Sea and now off the coast of Morocco.

European Union governments have attempted to crack down on STS transfers off their coastlines due to concerns over oil spills from elderly tankers with apparently limited insurance coverage.

A cargo transfer centre for Russian oil last year shifted from waters off the Spanish exclave of Ceuta to the Atlantic Ocean after local authorities clamped down on the trade.

Spain’s transport ministry fined the owners of one Vietnamese tanker €120,000 ($129,000) for an unauthorised transfer off its coastline.

Sovcomflot is reported to have transferred a Russian crude cargo from one of its suezmaxes to a third-party tanker 113 km off Singapore this week.