Outdated tankers in the Baltic Sea increase the risk of accidents

Cairo: Hani Kamal El-Din


The Finnish Border Guard issued a warning on Thursday about the growing threat of a major oil spill in the Baltic Sea. The risks of such an incident have increased since Russia deployed a “shadow tanker fleet” to sell oil bypassing international sanctions.

“According to our assessments made over the past year, the risk of an accident with environmental consequences has increased,” stated to the AFP agency, the director of the maritime security department of the Finnish Border Guard, Mikko Simola.

About 70 aging oil tankers, each capable of carrying more than 100,000 tons of crude oil, pass through the Gulf of Finland every week. The number of ships operating in the area remains roughly the same as before Russia attacked Ukraine, Simola said.

All oil tankers departing from the major Russian ports of Primorsk, Ust-Luga, Vysotsk and St. Petersburg use the same route through the Gulf of Finland, which washes the coasts of Finland and Estonia.

The maritime safety department of the Finnish Border Guard believes that an oil spill accident in the Baltic Sea is particularly unfavorable due to the relative shallowness of the waters and the fragility of ecological systems.

Uncertainty regarding ship ownership and insurance is also a risk factor. For example, in the northern part of the Baltic Sea, the flags of Cameroon, Gabon, Djibouti, Palau and Belize were not visible in previous years. These states appear to be unfamiliar with sailing in Nordic ice conditions, which increases the risk of environmental disaster, noted Mikko Simola.

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  • Source of information and images “svoboda

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