US adds another Russian shipowner to sanctions list

The US Department of State has imposed sanctions on Sakhalin Shipping Co (SASCO), it said on Thursday July 20th. It accused the company of providing key logistical support to multiple Russian future energy projects,

“SASCO has provided support for future energy projects by delivering construction material and equipment via sea to the Taimyr Peninsula. SASCO is also involved in expanding Russia’s trade routes to new jurisdictions as the Russian Federation looks to backfill economic connections it has lost due to the invasion of Ukraine,” the State Department said.

Entities OOO MPL Vanino Sakhalin and AO Vostok Treid Invest which are subsidiaries of SASCO are also being designated.

OOO MPL Vanino Sakhalin is responsible for facilitating the renting and leasing of maritime transport equipment for SASCO, whilst AO Vostok Treid Invest is responsible for buying and selling real estate for SASCO, as the US Department of State claims.

The subsidiaries of Rosatom, AEM Propulsion and NPO KIS, are also being designated.

The European Council last week decided to prolong until January 31st 2024, the restrictive measures targeting specific sectors of the economy of the Russian Federation.

While these measures currently consist of a broad spectrum of sectoral measures, including restrictions on trade, finance, technology and dual-use goods, industry, transport and luxury goods, they also cover a ban on the import or transfer of seaborne crude oil and certain petroleum products from Russia to the EU, a de-SWIFTing of several Russian banks, and the suspension of the broadcasting activities and licenses of several Kremlin-backed disinformation outlets.

Specific measures were introduced to strengthen the ability of the EU to counter sanctions circumvention.

Russian conglomerate Delo Group, which acquired a controlling stake in SASCO in August last year, contends that SASCO performs two-thirds of all Russian domestic sea carriages and is instrumental in the expansion of navigation along the Northern Sea Route.

Late in April a Russian arbitration court seized control of four tugs that were owned by the Svitzer towage company – a subsidiary of Denmark-based Maersk – which had been operating under a long-term contract to provide services at the Sakhalin-II oil and gas project, in eastern Russia (IMN May 12th 2023).

Maersk had been seeking to end the services as part of the company’s intention to withdraw from all operations in Russia, a consequence of the country’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

The four Robert Allan designed heavy-duty ice-class tugs, built in 2007, were operating under charter to Svitzer Sakhalin – a Russian subsidiary. That company in turn had an agreement to provide marine services for the operators of the Sakhalin project. In 2020 that contract was extended, going into effect in November 2020 and meant to run for an extra 10 years.

The vessels comprised the Svitzer Sakhalin (IMO 9369241), Svitzer Aniva (IMO 9369253), Svitzer Busse (IMO 9389605) and Svitzer Korsakov (IMO 9389590). The first two were built by ASL Shipyard of Singapore, while the latter pair were built by Admiralty Shipyard in St. Petersburg, Russia. Each is 590 dwt.

2007-built, Russia-flagged (Equasis, Marine Traffic) 663 gt Svitzer Sakhalin is recorded as owned by Svitzer Sakhalin BV care of Svitzer Asia Pte of Singapore. Manager and ISM manager is Svitzer Sakhalin Terminal of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Sakhalinskaya oblast, 693007, Russia. Details are the same for the Svitzer Aniva, Svitzer Busse and Svitzer Korasakov.