Russian ship seeks transfer of cargo at another port after being banned from Canada

There is a long history of sanctioned nations deploying ship-to-ship transfers of oil in order to conceal its origin from places such as Iran or Venezuela. This tactic has seen a new twist with at least one vessel banned from Canada ports now expected to transfer the cargo to a ship of a different flag in a different port, before the cargo, if not the ship, heads once again to its original destination. This time, however, there will be no attempt to hide the origin of the cargo, merely to circumvent the sanctions on Russia imposed in Canada. However, it would appear that the alternative shipping plan has itself met with some difficulties.

Canada announced its complete ban on Russian shipping entering its ports on March 1st. Russia-flagged bulk carrier Fesco Uliss (IMO 9312157) was among the first vessels affected. It had departed Riga, Latvia on February 15th with a load of carbon pitch and was due to deliver the cargo to an aluminium smelter at the Canadian port of Trois-Rivières on March 6th.

On March 1st, when the Canadian ban came into effect, the Fesco Uliss was mid-Atlantic and had slowed to a drift, presumably awaiting developments. On March 2nd/3rd it once again picked up speed and headed for its original destination, the Gulf of St. Lawrence. But on March 5th it changed direction and headed south.

According to the Journal de Montreal, the Fesco Uliss is heading for Freeport in the Bahamas, where it will transload its cargo onto a non-Russian vessel, which will then deliver it back to Trois-Rivières, albeit six weeks late.

However over the weekend it looked as if the plan had changed again. On Sunday March 13th the Fesco Uliss altered course away from the Bahamas (ETA March 14th) and as of Sunday night it was heading southwest through the Mona Passage, away from Freeport and towards Panama . As of March 14th its destination had become Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, ETA March 14th. It was currently positioned between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

2004-built, Russia-flagged, 9,615 gt Fesco Uliss is owned and managed by Fesco of Moscow, Russia. As of March 14th it was listed as entered with UK Club on behalf of Far Eastern Shipping Co PLC.