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A shadow-fleet oil tanker that falsified its location and carried Venezuelan crude got stuck near Singapore

venezuela oil crude
A worker collects crude oil sample at an oil well operated by Venezuela.Reuters/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
  • A shadow-fleet oil tanker ran aground near Singapore, Bloomberg reported.

  • The vessel had previously hid its location to avoid detection.

  • It's carrying a cargo of oil from Venezuela, energy research firms said.

An oil tanker that previously falsified its location to avoid detection ran aground near Singapore earlier this week, according to a Bloomberg report.

The vessel was carrying an oil cargo from Venezuela, the report said, citing data from TankerTrackers.com and Kpler. Both companies said the ship was "spoofing," or making it show up on digital tracking systems near West Africa when in reality it was off the shores of Venezuela.

A spokesperson for the Indonesia navy told Bloomberg the 23-year-old ship, the Liberty, was under investigation. A company called Skyward Management is listed as the technical manager of the vessel, though ownership remains unclear.

The grounding marks the latest event involving a so-called shadow tanker, or ships that navigate without insurance or certifications on par with regulations. These fleets quietly ferry sanctioned goods, and they often have obscure ownership structures.

In shrouding its whereabouts, the Liberty went against recommendations from the International Maritime Organization, which advises not to falsify locations. However, per Bloomberg, it remains up to individual governments to decide the legality of it.

Last year amid Western sanctions and a crude oil price cap, reports emerged of Russia operating a shadow fleet of more than 100 tankers. Many of those, industry experts said, were reallocated from the ships servicing Iran and Venezuela, two other nations facing oil sanctions.

The Liberty had undergone inspections in 2017 and 2019, and at the time it was deemed high risk and subsequently sold to new owners. Later inspections didn't turn up any additional risks, however.

Bloomberg previously reported that one vessel carrying Russian crude that sold above the West's price cap was unable to dock on the shores of India, a sign that the country is attempting to maintain in good favor with the US in abiding by sanctions.

Read the original article on Business Insider