Russian Oil Tanker Alters Course After US Sanctions

In a swift response to recent US sanctions, a Russian oil tanker, the NS Leader, abruptly changed course off the coast of Portugal.

The vessel, owned by the Russian Federation, was en route to the Baltic Sea port of Primorsk when sanctions were imposed, prompting a notable alteration in its trajectory. The 817-foot tanker, slated to load its next cargo within 10 days, significantly reduced its speed, executed a U-turn, and revised its destination to “for orders,” according to vessel tracking data compiled by Bloomberg.

This maneuver underscores the tangible impact of the sanctions, which have been progressively tightened since late last year. This isn’t the first instance of such actions in response to sanctions. Two months prior, the Viktor Bakaev, also sanctioned, similarly altered course in a comparable location, ultimately anchoring in the Black Sea without further cargo operations.

The US Treasury targeted Liberia-registered NS Leader Shipping Incorporated, the vessel’s owner, along with UAE-based entities Zeenit Supply and Trading DMCC, Talassa Shipping DMCC, and Oil Tankers SCF Mgmt FZCO. Furthermore, the Treasury asserted that the ultimate owner of the NS Leader is the Russian Federation, in alignment with data from the International Maritime Organization’s database.

This latest development underscores the complex interplay of geopolitics and maritime commerce in the wake of escalating tensions.

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