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Denmark weighs blocking Russian oil tankers from Baltic passage

Denmark explores options to curb Russian oil tankers using Danish straits to access the Baltic Sea, targeting the “shadow fleet” evading sanctions.
denmark weighs blocking russian oil tankers from baltic passage shadow tanker registered cameroon caught indonesia illegal ship-to-ship cargo transfer operation july 2023 bakamla maritime-executivecom arman-114-detailed5070c9
A shadow tanker registered in Cameroon caught by Indonesia in an illegal ship-to-ship cargo transfer operation in July 2023. Photo: Bakamla, via maritime-executive.com.
Denmark weighs blocking Russian oil tankers from Baltic passage

Denmark is considering measures to limit the passage of Russian oil tankers through the Danish straits leading to the Baltic Sea. On 17 June, the country’s Foreign Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen told Reuters that Denmark has brought together allied countries to evaluate options targeting the “shadow fleet” of tankers carrying Russian oil exports that have evaded Western sanctions.

According to Reuters, Russia sends about one-third of its seaborne oil exports, equating to 1.5% of global supply, through the Danish straits acting as a gateway to the Baltic Sea. Any attempt to halt these supplies could drive up oil prices and impact the Kremlin’s finances from oil exports.

There is broad consensus that the shadow fleet is an international problem and that international solutions are required,” Rasmussen said. “It’s important that any new measures can be implemented in practice and that they are legally sound with regards to international law.

Denmark cited concerns that the aging tankers used in this shadow fleet pose environmental risks. The move could potentially trigger confrontation with Russia, which Denmark has been preparing for by raising threat levels for cyberattacks and instructing citizens to stockpile supplies.

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