As the world continues to seemingly divide down a line between freedom and tyranny, there is absolutely no doubt where Russia stands in the mess.
President Vladimir Putin has been doing his best impression of a James Bond villain over the course of his time as Russia’s top leader, quashing any dissent among his people, having his political enemies poisoned, and declaring that sovereign nations such as Ukraine should not exist.
This has, predictably, cause a great deal of economic turmoil for Russia, as western nations continue to pile on sanctions meant to improve his behavior.
There is now evidence that Putin is skirting these sanctions via “dark” oil transfers out in the middle of the ocean.
The volume of Russian oil involved in “dark” ship-to-ship transfers has risen sharply in the past few months, as Western sanctions lead to a high degree of secrecy in global crude markets and a redirection of supplies toward Asia.Trending:
According to Vortexa, the volume of Russian crude through such transfers reached 182,000 barrels a day in the first 18 days of July, up dramatically from 44,000 barrels a day in June. The commodity data company told Insider that the majority of oil is headed to China.
The clandestine maneuver is easy to spot, if you know what you’re looking for.
In ship-to-ship transfer, one ship unloads its cargo while at sea. When such a transfer is “dark”, it means that at least one ship has turned off the tracking signal to help officers see where it is.
Compounding the issue is the fact that much of this oil is bound for China – another authoritarian nation that appears to be aligning with Russia in this global game of freedom vs. tyranny.