Sweden sounds alarm over ‘unseaworthy’ Russian oil tankers: Guardian

By Andrew Blackman - April 18, 2024
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström meeting his Finnish counterpart (not in pic) during the event “Finland, Sweden, and Ukraine in an Expanded EU” arranged by Swedish-Finnish Cultural Centre in Espoo, Finland, on March 26, 2024. (Photo by VESA MOILANEN/LEHTIKUVA/Sipa USA)

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström has called for new rules to prevent unseaworthy Russian oil tankers from creating “environmental havoc” in the Baltic Sea. In an interview with the Guardian, Billstrǒm, warned that “we will all be affected if there were a major problem arising from a collision or oil leakage from one of these ships.”

  • Around half of all Russian oil transported by sea passes through the Baltic and Danish waters. Many of them operate under opaque ownership and use international waters to try to avoid scrutiny.
  • Billstöm said in the interview that every state that was a member of the International Maritime Organisation had the right to ask the captain of a ship not deemed seaworthy to take action before leaving port.
  • Not all the Nordic countries share his view. Some are concerned about Russia’s reacton if they were to intervene, since it might interprete the move as an attempt to reduce the country’s access to the Baltic Sea from St Petersburg and other ports

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