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Ukraine Says Five Greek Shipping Firms Placed on Sanctions List

Greek shipping
A Ukrainian government body has placed five Greek shipping firms on an online sanctions portal based on claims that Greek cargo containers are transporting Russian oil. Credit: fdecomite / Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0

Five Greek shipping firms have been placed on a list compiled by the National Committee for War and Sanctions for allegedly continuing to cooperate with Russia despite the ongoing war in Ukraine and the levying of Western sanctions.

The five companies named on the sanctions list were TMS Tankers, Minerva Marine, Dynacom Tankers Management, Thenamaris, and Delta Tankers. Many of the firms are headed by influential Greek families and business magnates.

The Ukrainian government has accused the Greek shipping companies of aiding Russia’s war effort by continuing to trade with Russia and transport oil.

Greek shipping firms placed on Ukrainian sanctions list

The five firms were included in Ukraine’s War and Sanctions list as “sponsors of war”. The companies have been accused of helping Russia to circumvent oil sanctions imposed by the European Union.

The shipping companies are headed by a number of important figures in the Greek shipping and business communities, including George Economou, George Prokopiou, Andreas Martinos, Nikolas Maritnos, and Diamantis Diamantidis.

According to the War and Sanctions website, the Ukrainian government lists “Foreign companies that, despite the recognition of Russia as an aggressor country by the international community and sanctions restrictions, continue to cooperate with it.”

The sanctions portal, which has been active since April 2022, lists commercial entities and individuals who have been sanctioned in connection with the conflict in Ukraine. The list also highlights firms and individuals that the Ukrainian government thinks should be considered for sanctions.

“Prime candidates for sanctions are those companies that provide the public and private sector with goods and services of critical purpose, as well as replenish the country’s budget, thereby financing the war,” the website says.

Shipping and ties with Russia

Since the invasion of Ukraine, Western powers have imposed a series of sanctions on Russia in a bid to limit Moscow’s ability to wage war. The most significant sanctions have sought to limit Russia’s profits from the sale and export of natural resources like oil and gas.

In October last year, the US banned imports of Russian crude oil, with the European Union adopting a similar sanctions policy in December.

However, some journalists and commercial intelligence firms have claimed that Greek ships have circumvented sanctions by continuing to transport Russian crude oil, among other exports.

According to Lloyd’s List Intelligence, Greek shipping firms have played a significant role in the transportation of Russian oil before and after the European Union imposed sanctions.

“Greek-owned tankers shipped 40% of oil from Russia’s key Baltic and Black Sea export ports over January, the last month they can take advantage of trading premiums for operating in the region before European Union sanctions lock them out of the market,” the intelligence firm said.

Lloyds List Intelligence later assessed that the number of Greek-owned tankers calling at key Russian oil export ports in the Black and Baltic seas dropped to 31% the following month.

The European Council says that “The EU has prohibited EU vessels from transporting Russian crude oil and petroleum products to third countries. It has also prohibited the related provision of technical assistance, brokering services or financing or financial assistance.”

However, it is important to note that “This ban doesn’t apply if the crude oil or petroleum products are purchased at or below the oil price cap.”

According to Lloyd’s List Intelligence, the twenty-nine tankers owned by Greek shipowners that called at Russian ports after February 5 when the sanctions were levied, were carrying oil-price cap-compliant cargoes.

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