Western officials have blamed their Turkish counterparts for the delay in oil shipments from the Black Sea after the EU and G7 countries imposed a price cap on Russian oil supplies on 5 December.
The new regulations prevent tankers transporting Russian crude from accessing European maritime insurance unless the oil is sold for $60 per barrel or less. Turkish officials announced their own new insurance rules before the price cap decision. Due to this, at least 22 crude tankers so far have been stopped from entering Turkish waters.
Turkish maritime authorities filed a notice last month requesting extra guarantees from insurers regarding shipments that transit across the Bosporus Strait, starting this month, Al Jazeera reported.
Turkish officials stated that the price cap had raised the hazard level for uninsured vessels in its waters. Turkish maritime authorities requested all crude tankers passing through their waters provide proof of additional legal insurance coverage for accidents such as oil spills and collisions.
Russian deputy foreign minister, Alexander Grushko, said: “We are aware of this situation. It causes us concern from the point of view of the interests of our operators. This is being discussed with transport and insurance companies. After all, insurance companies insure, not the state. If the problem is not solved, of course, there will be involvement on the political level.”
According to the US Treasury Department, the price cap solely applies to Russian oil and does not require further inspections of ships entering Turkish territorial waters. US Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo explained this to Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal during a call on Wednesday, Financial Times reported.
“The UK, US and EU are working closely with the Turkish government and the shipping and insurance industries to clarify the implementation of the oil price cap and reach a resolution. There is no reason for ships to be denied access to the Bosporus Straits for environmental, health, and safety concerns,” a British Treasury official told Reuters.
However, officials in Russia have warned that the country will not comply with the cap policy, even if it means reducing production. Countries that oppose the plan can continue to buy Russian oil over the price cap without using Western services to buy, insure, or transport it.