March 25, 2023

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20 oil tankers stopped near Istanbul in an insurance dispute

20 oil tankers stopped near Istanbul in an insurance dispute

  • Accumulation in oil markets and worrying tankers
  • Turkey says out of the question to take insurance risk
  • Yellen says that oil from Kazakhstan should not be targeted
  • Ankara says most of the waiting ships are European Union ships

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The number of oil tankers waiting in the Black Sea to cross the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul on its way to the Mediterranean rose to 20 on Friday, shipping agency Tribeca said, as Turkey was in talks to resolve an insurance dispute. behind construction.

Rejecting pressure from abroad about the lengthening of the queue, Turkish maritime authorities said on Thursday that they would continue to block tankers lacking the appropriate letters of insurance and that they needed time to check.

The backlog is causing growing concern in the oil and tanker markets and comes as the Group of Seven and the European Union impose a cap on the price of Russian oil. Millions of barrels of oil move south every day from Russian ports through the Bosphorus and Dardanelles in Turkey to the Mediterranean Sea.

In the event of an accident involving a vessel in violation of the sanctions, the Maritime Authority said, an international oil spill fund would likely not cover the damage.

“(It is) for us to take the risk that the insurance company will not fulfill its liability for compensation,” she said, adding that Turkey is continuing talks with other countries and insurance companies.

It said the vast majority of ships waiting near the strait are European Union vessels, and much of the oil is destined for EU ports, a factor frustrating Ankara’s Western allies.

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The Group of Seven major countries, the European Union and Australia have agreed to prevent shipping service providers, such as insurance companies, from helping to export Russian oil unless it is sold at a low price or imposed ceiling, with the aim of depriving Moscow of war revenues.

However, Turkey had a separate procedure in place since the beginning of the month requiring ships to provide proof of insurance covering the duration of their transit through the Bosphorus, or when calling at Turkish ports.

Kazakh oil

Tribeca said eight tankers were also waiting to pass through the Dardanelles Strait into the Mediterranean, down from nine the previous day, making a total of 28 tankers waiting to cross south.

Most of the oil tankers waiting in the Bosphorus Strait carry Kazakh oil, and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Thursday that the US administration saw no reason to subject such shipments to new procedures.

She added that Washington had no reason to believe that Russia was involved in Turkey’s decision to prevent the ships from crossing.

Turkey has had to balance its good relations with both Russia and Ukraine since Moscow invaded its neighbor in February. It played a key role in a United Nations-backed agreement reached in July to free up grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.

Turkey’s Maritime Authority said it was unacceptable to pressure Turkey over what it called “routine” insurance checks and that it could remove tankers without proper documentation from its waters or require them to provide new letters of insurance for P&I vessels covering their voyages.

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Additional reporting by Darren Butler, Caesar and Jonathan Saul were in London Editing by Himani Sarkar, Clarence Fernandez, Jonathan Spicer and Francis Kerry

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