An increasing number of Russian-owned ships are adopting flags of convenience to circumvent sanctions, Bloomberg reports.
According to Tel Aviv-based company Windward, which presents itself on its website as “the leading maritime AI company, providing an all-in-one platform for risk management and maritime domain awareness needs,” 18 Russian-owned ships, 11 of them cargo ships and 3 tankers, two of whom are transporting Russian oil, switched to a different flag in March.
It is the first time, Windward said, that a double-digit number of Russian-owned ships have adopted other flags in a given month, and over three times the long-term average. The company surmises that at least some of these cases may have to do with the shipowners’ attempt to cover their identity in order to keep working for Russina interests while sidestepping the danger of sanctions.
The 11 cargo ships that changed flags all belong to the same company registered in the United Arab Emirates and which all adopted a Marshall Islands flag. Windward, however, there may be individual cases where the flag change occurred because the owner(s) acted out of moral scruples, Bloomberg reports.