'Shadow Fleet' Tanker Runs Aground Near Singapore

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by Tyler Durden
Saturday, Dec 09, 2023 - 01:00 AM

A petroleum tanker, part of a global "shadow fleet" of vessels, hauled upwards of a million barrels of Venezuelan oil and ran aground near Singapore. Blomberg reported that this incident occurred shortly after the tanker falsified its location to avoid detection.

The 23- year-old oil tanker, "Liberty," was sailing under the Cameroon flag and ran aground on Sunday. An Indonesian navy spokesman said an investigation into Liberty is underway. 

Satellite research from TankerTrackers said the vessel was 'spoofing' its location in October, making it appear as if the ship was off the coast of West Africa while actually filling up on sanctioned oil in Venezuela. 

TankerTrackers said this is the second time a shadow fleet tanker has "run aground west of the Singapore Strait" in 14 months. 

Bloomberg pointed out that hundreds of tankers are part of the shadow fleet that allows Venezuela, Iran, and Russia to ship their US-sanctioned crude and crude products around the world.

The International Maritime Organization recently warned about shadow fleets operating outside international regulation, usually with no insurance, calling it a "grave concern" to the environmental safety and welfare of crews and countries that reside on coastlines. 

The dangers posed by the dark fleet were realized earlier this year when a tanker called "Pablo," which was thought to be transporting Iranian oil, caught fire off the coast of Malaysia

This could be the tip of the iceberg as the growth in the shadow fleet soars, mainly because the US has been on a sanctioning spree against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.