March 2. 2024. 1:34

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Hundreds of ‘ghost tankers’ in Gulf of Finland pose risk for maritime safety


Unidentified tankers are shipping oil through the Gulf of Finland after the G7 implemented a $60 price cap on Russian oil and the EU and UK imposed a ban on the seaborne import of Russian crude oil forcing Moscow to increase long-distance shipments using questionable vessels.

The arrival of hundreds of tankers in poor condition in the already congested Gulf of Finland has multiplied risks for maritime safety and the environment.

In the event of an accident and an oil spill, all the consequences could fall on countries like Finland and Estonia since the authorities are unaware whether the ”ghost tankers” are adequately insured.

A similar message was conveyed by lieutenant commander Tuomas Luukkonen of the Gulf of Finland coast guard: “Our estimate is that some of those vessels have a crew which may not have sailed in the area before. That poses a risk for an accident,” Luukkonen told Ilta-Sanomat.

Additionally, shipping companies are currently taking care of the oil shipments from Russian ports, the Tenured Associate Professor of Maritime Transport at Tallinn University of Technology Ulla Tapaninen added.

“During the last six months, there has appeared a large number of shipping companies of which we have practically no information,” Tapaninen told YLE Radio.

“We do not get information about the crew or the condition and the age of the vessels since they do not stop at European ports,” Tapaninen added.

(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)