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Sanctioned tanker NS Century reaches China port to discharge Russian oil

Crude oil tanker NS Century (IMO 9306782) arrived at Qingdao Port, China, late on Thursday March 14th to discharge a cargo of Russian crude oil, LSEG shipping data showed. The vessel is subject to US sanctions, being operated by Russian shipping group Sovcomflot’s (SCF) Dubai-based subsidiary SCF MGMT. The vessel was carrying about 700,000 barrels of Russian Sokol crude.

It is the fourth U.S.-sanctioned tanker to dock at Chinese ports this month. A backlog of Russian Sokol crude has built up and had been stored on ships. Presumably as a result the Chinese buyers will have been able to negotiate a competitive price for the crude.

The previous three ships – the Liteyny Prospect, Krymsk and Nellis (see last week’s IMN for details) – had docked during temporary waivers of sanctions.

On November 16th last year OFAC imposed sanctions on three tankers, including NS Century, for violating a $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian crude oil exports. It also issued general licences allowing the offloading of crude oil, or other cargoes, from the three vessels, until February 14th.

The Chinese government has said that it opposes unilateral sanctions and that the country’s normal trade deserves respect and protection.

Sokol oil is a low-sulphur, light grade exported from the De Kastri terminal on Russia’s Sakhalin island by Sakhalin-1 LLC, controlled by oil giant Rosneft.

2006-built, Russia-flagged, 57,248 gt NS Century is owned by Gallion Navigation Inc care of Dubai-based Oil Tankers SCF. ISM manager is Invest Fleet Ltd of St Petersburg, Russia. As of March 15th the vessel was moored at Qingdao