Lloyd’s Register withdraws class from Indian shipowner Gatik Ship’s crew

Reuters

By Jonathan Saul and Nidhi Verma,

LONDON/NEW DELHI, May 25 (Reuters) – Lloyd’s Register has told Indian shipping company Gatik Ship Management, which has become a major transporter of Russian oil since the Ukraine war, that by June 3 it will ship the will withdraw certification from 21 of its ships The services company told Reuters.

It’s the latest setback for Gatik, which was also forced to find new flags for 36 of its ships after they were deflagged by the St Kitts & Nevis International Ship Registry.

“Lloyd’s Register is committed to facilitating sanctions compliance when trading Russian oil,” an email to Reuters said. “If this is supported by evidence, we will withdraw class and services from any ship deemed by the relevant authorities to be in violation of international sanctions.”

Classification societies such as Lloyd’s Register in London provide services including seaworthiness assessments, certifications vital to securing insurance and entering ports.

However, Lloyd’s Register said 11 of the Gatik vessels it has cleared are also Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass) certified.

Gatik, which is based in the Indian city of Mumbai, according to shipping databases, did not respond to email requests for comment.

A major US insurer, American Club, also told Reuters that it no longer insures Gatik ships, while Russian insurer Ingosstrakh said it would no longer work with Gatik in the future.

Neither the insurers nor Lloyd’s Register or the Flag Register have explained exactly why they stopped doing business with Gatik.

DISTURBANCES AND LIMITS

In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Western powers imposed a price cap on Russian crude oil at $60 a barrel.

While non-EU countries can import Russian crude oil by sea, Western shipowners and insurers are banned from handling such cargoes unless sold at or below that price.

Last month spot prices for Russian crude soared above $60 a barrel and some marine insurers said they were nervous break the rules as they were unable to independently track the value of the charges.

India does not recognize the sanctions imposed on Russia and has quickly become the largest buyer of Russian crude oil by sea.

Western efforts to curb Russia’s revenue from its energy resources are having a disruptive effect, as are Western sanctions on oil exports from other countries such as Iran and Venezuela.

But the lack of transparency and limited oversight of the shipping sector mean that many ships carrying cargo from sanctioned countries continue to re-flag and find non-Western registers or insurers, which is a cause for concern security and liability.

Every ship requires documents including a flag register.

Ships typically carry P&I (Protection and Indemnity) insurance, covering liability claims including environmental damage and personal injury. Separate hull and machinery insurances cover ships against property damage.

While Lloyd’s Register is declassifying 21 Gatik vessels, at least 28 have been listed as certified by the Indian Register of Shipping, according to the IRClass website.

IRClass, which is recognized around the world, did not respond to requests for comment.

INSURANCE LOST

As shipping data shows, this year Gatik grew into a leading carrier of Russian oil to India with a tanker fleet of more than 40.

American Club, one of the world’s 12 largest P&I insurers, which collectively covers about 90% of the world’s maritime tonnage, said it used to insure most Gatik ships but stopped covering them as of early April without reason to name for it.

Ingosstrakh, a major Russian insurer active in marine insurance but not in the top 12, told Reuters this month that its coverage for Gatik’s Prometheus tankers expired in April and has not been renewed.

Ingosstrakh said that it “had to decline certain insurance claims it had received from Gatik due to the risks identified as part of our negative media screening process,” citing the negative media coverage without further detail.

“We can also confirm that we do not plan to work with Gatik in the future,” the private Russian insurer replied to Reuters inquiries.

Reuters was unable to determine if any Gatik ships were currently sailing without the necessary paperwork.

India imported 2.76 million tons of Russian oil in Gatik-managed vessels in the first four months of 2023, accounting for 10% of its total Russian imports, according to tanker arrivals data and Reuters calculations.

About 1.36 million tons of Russian crude were slated for arrival in India in May and June on Gatik-linked tankers, according to Refinitiv, although these figures are preliminary.

In April, the St. Kitts & Nevis International Ship Registry told Reuters that it would be de-flagged 36 Gatik ships.

“It has been the registry’s long-standing policy that whenever we are made aware of breaches of our high standards by vessels flying our flag, we always investigate and take appropriate action,” the registry said, declining to give further details .

According to maritime platform Lloyd’s List Intelligence, Gatik has flagged 15 vessels to Gabon, up from 9 in early April before St Kitts and Nevis began removing the flag from the company’s vessels.

The Gabon Flag Register did not respond to requests for comment.

(Reporting by Jonathan Saul in London and Nidhi Verma in New Delhi; additional reporting by Rajendra Jadhav in Mumbai and Reuters reporters; editing by Tony Munroe and David Clarke)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2023.

Related Articles

Back to top button