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Russian oil tanker attacked in Black Sea near Crimea


Sig tanker carrying fuel oil just outside Kerch Strait

Uptick in attacks since Russia exited Black Sea Grain Deal

Comes day after Novorossiisk port temporarily closed

  • Author
  • Rosemary Griffin
  • Editor
  • Herman Wang
  • Commodity
  • Agriculture Oil Shipping

A Russian tanker carrying fuel oil was attacked in the Black Sea near Crimea on Aug. 5 in the latest escalation of hostilities impacting commodities infrastructure stemming from Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

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Authorities said the Sig tanker was struck just outside the Kerch Strait, which connects the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, separating Crimea and Russia's Taman peninsula.

The vessel was likely hit by a sea drone, Russia's Federal Agency for Marine and River Transport (RosMorRechFlot) said in a statement posted on its official Telegram channel. It said that the drone hit the engine room of the tanker near the waterline on the starboard side, citing preliminary information provided by the Novorossiisk Marine Rescue Coordination Center.

The Sig was carrying 43,123 barrels of fuel oils and heading to the Russian port of Kavkaz, according to shipping tracker Kpler.

RosMorRechFlot said that there were no casualties and the ship remains afloat, close to the entrance to the Kerch Strait. A rescue mission is underway.

There has been an uptick in attacks in Southern Russia since it exited the Black Sea Grain Initiative on July 17, threatening shipping of commodities including oil and grain via the Black Sea -- a key export and transit route.

The incident comes a day after sea traffic at the Russian Black Sea port of Novorossiisk was temporarily suspended following an attack on a naval vessel nearby.

On July 28, attacks hit towns on the Sea of Azov and Rosneft's 7 million mt/year (140,000 b/d) Kuybishev refinery.

Russia has also struck Ukrainian ports on the Danube, which are crucial for Ukraine to ship out grains and other food products. These attacks are leading Ukraine to source gasoline and diesel fuel via the land border with Poland rather than maritime deliveries, according to market sources.