Daily Management Review

Dubai Company Provides Safety For Russian Oil Tankers On India’s Behalf


Dubai Company Provides Safety For Russian Oil Tankers On India’s Behalf
According to official data, India is providing safety certification for dozens of ships controlled by a Dubai subsidiary of prominent Russian shipping giant Sovcomflot, allowing oil exports to India and abroad after Western certifiers abandoned their services due to worldwide sanctions imposed on Moscow.
After insurance coverage, certification by the Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass), one of the world's top classification companies, provides the final link in the paperwork chain required to keep state-owned Sovcomflot's tanker fleet afloat and delivering Russian crude oil to international markets.
According to data obtained from the IRClass website, it has certified more than 80 ships managed by SCF Management Services (Dubai) Ltd, a Dubai-based firm listed on Sovcomflot's website as a subsidiary.
According to an Indian shipping source acquainted with the certification process, the majority of Sovcomflot's boats have now been transferred to IRClass through the Dubai branch.
According to the shipping industry website TradeWinds, the majority of the Sovcomflot international tanker fleet that was declassified owing to sanctions was transferred to IRClass in April and May.
Classification societies verify that ships are safe and seaworthy, which is required for insurance and port access.
Russia's crude oil sector, which has been subjected to stringent sanctions as a result of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, has been obliged to seek consumers outside the West while relying on Russian transporters and insurers to handle exports.
India, which has refrained from criticising Russia due to its long-standing security ties, has increased its purchases of Russian crude oil in recent months.
Western sanctions on Russia drove many oil importers to avoid doing business with the country, causing Russian crude to trade at a discount to other grades.
This gave Indian refiners, who had previously avoided buying Russian oil due to high freight costs, an opportunity to stock up on low-cost crude. Russian grades accounted for over 16.5 percent of India's total oil imports in May, compared to approximately 1% in 2021.
India's ship certifier is one of 11 members of the International Association of Classification Societies (IACS), which certifies more than 90% of the world's cargo tonnage.
The Russia Maritime Register of Shipping was also a member of the association until March, when it withdrew its membership following a vote by 75 per cent of IACS members. Membership in IACS, which establishes technical standards, makes a certifier more appealing to insurers, ports, flag registries, and shipowners looking for safety assurances.
Due to the sanctions, the four leading IACS members, the United Kingdom, Norway, France, and the United States, have suspended services to Russian enterprises.
When challenged about the certification data for Sovcomflot's fleet, an IRClass spokeswoman said, "Indian Register of Shipping, as an international ship classification society, reiterates that we have not classed vessels which are owned, registered, or controlled by Russian enterprises."
The representative declined to comment further on the situation, particularly the connection between the Dubai unit and its Russian parent.
The United Kingdom and the European Union have imposed sanctions and other restrictions on Sovcomflot, while the United States has restricted its financial activities. A request for comment was not immediately returned by the corporation.
According to an IACS spokeswoman, the group has no comment on IRClass's conduct.
"IACS is not involved in the operational and commercial activities of its members, including appraisal, approval surveying and testing of vessels and equipment and the issuing of classification and statutory certificates where authorised," he said.
"As such, these developments do not get discussed within the association."