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Marshall Islands Shuts Down Insurer of “Dark Fleet” Oil Tanker

The Marshall Islands, one of the most popular flag states for oil tankers, has shut down an insurance company that has been offering insurance services to oil tankers part of the growing “dark fleet” that skirts sanctions and carries Russian, Venezuelan, or Iranian oil, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing International Registries.   

The insurer, the Continental Steamship Owners Mutual Protecting & Indemnity Association Ltd, was “forcibly dissolved” by the Marshall Islands, according to International Registries.  

The now-dissolved company was reportedly the insurer of the tanker Liberty, part of the “shadow fleet”, which ran aground off Singapore last week. Cameroon-flagged Liberty is said to have carried around 1 million barrels of fuel oil from Venezuela when it ran aground in the Strait of Malacca.

Indonesia’s Navy said earlier this week that the cargo of the Liberty was being removed.

The incident highlights the environmental concern about the “dark fleet” which uses mostly old tankers that are at higher risk of causing oil spills and environmental disasters.

Earlier this month, reports emerged that Panama, the Marshall Islands, and Liberia have come under increased pressure from the West to boost the monitoring of vessels. Those popular flag states for oil tankers have been pressured to make sure tankers flying their flags are not violating the $60 a barrel price cap on Russian crude oil, Reuters reported last week, quoting a source who has seen the communication to the flag states.

The U.S. has been leading the efforts of the G7 and the EU to impose sanctions and embargoes on Russian crude oil and fuel exports. The price cap of $60 per barrel of Russian crude oil says that Russian crude shipments to third countries can use Western insurance and financing if cargoes are sold at or below the $60-a-barrel ceiling.  

Meanwhile, Russia has amassed a “shadow fleet” of tankers, which helps it ship its oil to international markets, mostly to Asia.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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