Marine fuel sellers have stopped serving vessels that sail under the Russian flag at major European hubs, including Spain and Malta, reported Reuters, citing five unnamed industry sources with knowledge of the matter.
It was noted that losing access to refueling points in the Mediterranean Sea posed major logistical problems for Russian oil tankers going from Baltic ports to Asia. It would also result in safety concerns over vessels potentially becoming stuck at sea with flammable cargoes, shipping sources say.
Multiple factors were said to be behind the halt in refueling services, not least “self-sanctioning”, either on moral grounds or simply in an attempt to anticipate the next wave of measures imposed on Russian companies.
It was reported that payment problems due to banking restrictions had also added to complications. Marine fuel is typically priced and paid for in US dollars, but Russian shipping operations are effectively barred from international currencies and international banking.
One source told Reuters that Russian-flagged ships were unable to secure marine fuel in Malta, the British overseas territory of Gibraltar or neighbouring Algeciras in Spain – all major bunkering, or refueling, zones in the Mediterranean.
A government official in Malta said the country was not allowing any Russian-flagged ships to come to its ports, while a transport ministry spokesperson with Spain’s Merchant Marine said it was “possible that certain providers are adopting these measures independently.”
A Gibraltar government spokesperson said port authorities would “reject calling requests by all ships either owned or operated by anyone connected to the country, not even for bunkering, in accordance to UK rules.”
Danish marine fuels supplier and ship owner Monjasa said it had suspended “trading and supplies with Russian-flagged vessels, Russian registered companies and companies and individuals with ties or affiliation to Russian ownership” with effect from February 25th. Denmark’s Bunker Holding said it had stopped all deliveries into Russian harbours since the start of March, adding that the group and subsidiaries including Dan-Bunkering had also “ceased to enter into new obligations with Russian counterparties.”
Gibraltar bunker supplier Peninsula, which is active elsewhere in the Mediterranean and other locations, said in a LinkedIn post it was “not doing business with Russian vessels, ports, companies – owned or majority owned – suppliers and financial institutions.”