Athens (Times Of Ocean) – A Russian tanker was impounded off the island of Evia by the Greek coastguard on Tuesday, as part of sanctions imposed by the European Union on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.
Russian-flagged vessels have been banned from entering the 27-nation bloc’s ports since the EU adopted new, sweeping sanctions against Russia for what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation”.
It is believed that 19 crew members were on board the 115,500-deadweight tonnage Russian-flagged Pegas, which was seized near Karystos on the southern coast of Evia, just off the coast of Athens.
The Russian embassy in Athens, the capital of Greece, said on Twitter that it was investigating the case and was in contact with Greek authorities.
A Greek shipping ministry official said the vessel was seized as part of EU sanctions.
US State Department spokesperson said the United States welcomed Greece’s efforts to implement the sanctions “in response to Russia’s brutal, unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.”
“We are aware of reports that the tanker is loaded with crude oil from Iran,” the spokesperson added, without taking a position on the veracity of such claims.
According to a Greek coastguard official, the ship’s oil cargo has not been confiscated. The charterer of the cargo was unknown, but the vessel was managed by Transmorflot of Russia.
There were no immediate comments from Transmorflot.
The Pegas, which was renamed Lana in March, reported an engine problem earlier. Athens News Agency reported that it was headed to the southern Peloponnese peninsula to offload its cargo onto another tanker, but rough seas forced it to moor just off Karystos where it was seized.
The ship was still moored at Karystos bay on Tuesday afternoon, witnesses told Reuters.The ship was still moored at Karystos bay on Tuesday afternoon, witnesses told Reuters.
According to the advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), which monitors Iran-related tanker traffic through ship and satellite tracking, the Pegas loaded around 700,000 barrels of crude oil from Iran’s Sirri Island on Aug. 19, 2021.
UANI said its analysis showed it unloaded the cargo at a Turkish port before heading to Greece.