February 23, 2024


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Greece seizes Russian oil tanker as part of EU sanctions against Russia

Greece seizes Russian oil tanker as part of EU sanctions against Russia

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece has seized a Russian oil tanker off the island of Evia as part of European Union sanctions imposed on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, the Greek coast guard said on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, the European Union banned Russian-flagged ships from ports in the 27-nation bloc, with some exceptions, as it adopted sweeping new sanctions against Russia over what the Kremlin described as a “special military operation”.

A 115,500-ton payload of the Russian-flagged Pegas with 19 Russian crew members on board, was seized near Karistos on the southern coast of Evia, which is off the Greek mainland near Athens.

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The Russian embassy in Athens, the Greek capital, said on Twitter that it was investigating the case and was in contact with the Greek authorities.

“It was seized within the framework of EU sanctions,” a Greek Shipping Ministry official said.

A State Department spokesman said the United States welcomed Greece’s efforts to enforce sanctions “which began in response to Russia’s brutal, unjustified invasion of Ukraine.”

The spokesman added, “We are aware of the reports that the tanker is loaded with Iranian crude oil,” and did not take any position on the veracity of these reports.

A Greek coast guard official said the oil cargo on the ship had not been confiscated. It was not clear who chartered the cargo, but the ship was operated by Russia-based Transmore Float.

Transmorflot was not immediately available for comment.

The Pegas, which was renamed Lana in March, had earlier reported an engine problem. The Athens News Agency reported that the plane was heading to the southern Peloponnese peninsula to unload its cargo on another tanker, but was forced by raging waves to dock off Karistos where it was captured.

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Reuters witnesses said the ship was still moored in Karistos Bay on Tuesday afternoon.

The United States Defense Group Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), which monitors the movement of tankers related to Iran by tracking ships and satellites, said Pegas carried about 700,000 barrels of crude oil from Iran’s island of Sri on August 19, 2021.

UANI said its analysis showed that it then attempted to offload the cargo at a Turkish port before heading to Greece.

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(Report) Submitted by Rene Maltezo, Jonathan Saul and Dmitriy Zhdanikov; Additional reporting by Arshad Muhammad in St. Paul, Minnesota; Editing by Mark Heinrich, Alexander Smith and Lincoln Fest.

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.