Finland Calls For EU Action As Shadow Fleet Mounts Oil Spill Risks


  • In response to the heightened risk of oil spills in the Baltic Sea, particularly in the Gulf of Finland, Finland is urging the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to enhance its preparedness measures.
  • The Ministry of Transport and Communications, along with the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom and the Finnish Border Guard, are advocating for the distribution of EMSA’s oil spill response vessels to be more evenly spread across European waters.

Finland has called on the European Maritime Safety Agency to bolster its pollution response network amid fears of a dark fleet oil spill in the fragile Baltic Sea, reports Safety4sea.

Finland calls for pollution response vessel

The Finnish Ministry of Transport and Communications said the risk of an oil spill in the Baltic (and especially in the Gulf of Finland) has grown as a result of sanctions imposed on Russia, which it said had “forced Russia to transport its oil with older vessels and weaker insurance coverage”.

The ministry explained that winter poses an even greater threat, with older vessels carrying sanctioned Russian oil not suited for icy conditions. Oil spill recovery was much more difficult and expensive in icy waters than open water, the department said.

Finland is asking the EMSA to station another pollution response vessel in the northern Baltic in case of a major oil spill in the ecologically sensitive region.

EMSA has nine response vessels stationed around Europe, including one at Malmo, Sweden, in the southern stretch of the Baltic Sea. But that vessel is more than 600 nautical miles away from the Gulf of Finland, where a large number of dark fleet tankers transit on their way to or from key Russian ports such as Ust-Luga and Primorsk.

The demand from Finland follows comments made by Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström earlier this year that Russia “doesn’t care” about a potential oil spill in the Baltic.

What is the dark/shadow fleet?

The “dark fleet” or “shadow fleet” comprises primarily older tankers, many of which have not undergone recent inspections and lack proper maintenance. Ownership of these vessels is often unclear, and they frequently operate without adequate insurance coverage, seeking to evade sanctions and mitigate high insurance costs. This increases the risk of oil spill or collision.

Did you subscribe to our daily newsletter?

It’s Free! Click here to Subscribe!

Source: Safety4sea


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.